Songquan-Deng via Shutterstock.com

Practically every day the federal government is making decisions that have a very real impact on our lives and our future. Will we have enough COVID-19 vaccines and testing to save lives, end the pandemic and keep us safe? Will the government hold polluters accountable for toxic waste and address the plastic pollution crisis?

Whenever decisions are made that affect our health, our safety and our future, U.S. PIRG’s advocates are monitoring and reporting on actions our lawmakers take, helping craft legislation, providing critical information and expert testimony, and making the voices of the public heard in the halls of power. Our litigation team is also continuing to pursue the lawsuits we’ve filed to block past rollbacks of our consumer, public health and environmental protections.

You can find the full list of the federal bills and policies we are monitoring here. Our top priorities for 2021 include:

  • <h4>COVID-19 RESPONSE</h4><p>We now have a chance to get the pandemic under control, and to save thousands of lives — but only if our government develops a coordinated, strategic response that prioritizes public health. We’re urging lawmakers to do what it takes to stop COVID and save lives.</p><div><a class="slideshowButton" href="#covidAnchor">LEARN MORE</a></div><em>Governor Tom Wolf via Flickr CC BY 2.0</em>
  • <h4>TRANSFORM TRANSPORTATION</h4><p>Getting from “A to B” could be much healthier, safer and more pleasant — and better for our planet — if it was easier to walk, bike, take transit or use an electric vehicle. We’re urging Congress and the Biden administration to build a 21st century transportation system.</p><div><a class="slideshowButton" href="#transAnchor">LEARN MORE</a></div><em>Adam Coppola Photography/Public Domain, Erica Hsu, Matej Kastelic via Shutterstock</em>
  • <h4>CONSUMER PROTECTION</h4><p>We're working to get dangerous products off store shelves, to end exploitative practices, to protect private data and to ensure a level playing field in the marketplace. And we're urging Congress and federal agencies to establish new rules, institutions and policies to defend consumers from the economic and political power of special interests.</p><div><a class="slideshowButton" href="#consumerAnchor">LEARN MORE</a></div><em>Ted Eytan via Flickr, CC-BY-SA 2.0</em>
  • <h4>OUR HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT</h4><p>Too often, the pursuit of short-term economic gain has come at a terrible cost: Toxic waste in our waterways, and our communities, and climate change-fueled hurricanes, floods and fires. We’re advocating in Washington, D.C. for policies that will hold companies and industries responsible for these impacts.</p><div><a class="slideshowButton" href="#healthAnchor">LEARN MORE</a></div><em>DGL Images,, Matel Kastelic, pixabay.com, staff</em>
  • <h4>ZERO WASTE</h4><p>The U.S. produces an immense amount of waste and the vast majority is sent to landfills, incinerators, or the natural environment. We've won numerous state and local plastic bans, and now we’re calling on Congress and the Biden administration to stem the tide of single-use plastic waste nationwide.</p><div><a class="slideshowButton" href="#wasteAnchor">LEARN MORE</a></div><em>DGL Images via Shutterstock, Matel Kastelic via Shutterstock, pixabay.com, staff.</em>
COVID-19 RESPONSE


More than 500,000 Americans have died from COVID-19. We now have a chance to get the pandemic under control, and to save thousands of lives — but only if our government develops a coordinated, strategic response that prioritizes public health. And, we must continue doing whatever is needed to get our caseloads down, especially with new dangerous variants of the virus circulating. We’re urging lawmakers to do what it takes to stop COVID and save lives, including:

  • Ensuring a fast and effective vaccine roll-out, expanding testing, and effectively distributing PPE and other supplies
  • Letting hospitals fix life-saving equipment like ventilators, and ending the restrictions manufacturers too often place on repair information and parts
  • Making sure nursing homes have PPE and other supplies they need to keep residents safe

Learn more about our COVID response work.

TRANSFORM TRANSPORTATION


Each year, pollution from cars, trucks and other vehicles cuts short an estimated 58,000 lives, and increases the risk of lung cancer, stroke and heart disease. Cars are much safer than they used to be, but motor vehicle crashes still kill an estimated 40,000 Americans each year. And, in a conclusion that should shock nobody, one study found the morning commute to be the least favorite part of the day for many Americans. Transportation is also now America’s number one source of carbon pollution, with greenhouse emissions from cars, trucks, buses and other vehicles surpassing every other source.

Getting from “A to B” could be much healthier, safer and more pleasant — and better for our planet — if it was easier to walk, bike, take transit or use an electric vehicle. To build a 21st century transportation system, we’re urging Congress and the Biden administration to:

  • Help communities make their streets safer for walking and biking
  • Replace dirty diesel buses with clean, electric school and transit buses
  • Fund a national network of electric vehicle charging stations
  • Fix existing roads, bridges and transit systems instead of building new highways
  • Shift funding from highways to transit

Explore how we can transform transportation.

CONSUMER PROTECTION


For more than 40 years, we’ve been educating consumers about how to protect themselves and advocating for their rights. We work to get dangerous products off store shelves, to end exploitative practices and protect private data, and ensure a level playing field in the marketplace. And we advocate for new rules, institutions and policies to defend consumers from the economic and political power of special interests.

During the pandemic, consumers have faced price-gouging on essential goods, dangerous or fraudulently labeled hand sanitizer and masks, and hits to our finances and credit scores that will have long-lasting repercussions. Right now, we’re urging Congress and federal agencies to:

  • Confirm Rohit Chopra as the new director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau -- our cop on the financial beat
  • Protect consumers from price-gouging, debt collection, eviction and other financial harms during the pandemic
  • Stop the debt trap by ending predatory payday lending and enhancing protections for student borrowers
  • Rein in patent abuse, price gouging and other practices that unnecessarily raise the cost of prescriptions
  • Strengthen and enforce rules that ensure the food we eat, the cars we drive and other products we buy are safe for us and our families

Sign up for consumer alerts and other actions.

OUR HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT


A healthy environment is not just a byproduct of prosperity. It’s a necessary precondition for our health and wellbeing. But too often, the pursuit of short-term economic gain has come at a terrible cost: toxic waste in our waterways, and our communities, and climate change-fueled hurricanes, floods and fires. Many of the companies and industries that pollute our air and water aren’t held responsible for these impacts. Some, as in the case of the fossil fuel industry, even receive support from taxpayers that enables them to continue harming our environment. We’re advocating in Washington, D.C. for policies to:

  • Make polluters pay for cleaning up the toxic waste they create
  • End fossil fuel subsidies, so we can stop wasting taxpayer dollars fueling the climate crisis
  • Eliminate senseless energy waste by making everyday appliances more efficient

Learn more about our campaigns to Make Polluters Pay, Ban Toxic PFAS, and End Fossil Fuel Subsidies.

ZERO WASTE


The U.S. produces an immense amount of waste—we generate over 30 percent of the planet's waste even though we make up just 4 percent of the population. That averages out to around seven pounds of material per American every single day. Only a third of our waste is recycled or composted while the vast majority is sent to landfills, incinerators, or the natural environment. Much of this waste comes from products we don’t even want or need, like single-use plastic bags and packaging. We’ve won numerous state and local plastic bans and now we’re calling on Congress and the Biden administration to:

  • Reduce plastic production, use and disposal
  • Fund composting programs and other zero waste solutions
  • Implement a national “bottle bill” to incentivize recycling

See where we’ve won state bans on single-use plastic.

A better future is possible

Together we can ensure our government makes decisions that protect our health, safety and wellbeing.

U.S. PIRG’s experts are trusted voices on a wide range of issues. We’ve researched the opportunities posed by electric buses. We’ve worked hand-in-hand with lawmakers to craft legislation to rein in plastic pollution. Our reports and expert testimony shape how Congress addresses problems in the financial marketplace.

We work across the aisle and seek common ground, because even in this deeply divided moment, all Americans want a healthier, safer, more secure future.

And we’re not just in Washington, D.C.; we have more than 20 state offices and members and supporters in all 50 states. By bringing the voices of Americans into the halls of power where decisions are made, we can get more lawmakers to act in the public interest.

GET INVOLVED

With a new administration, we have new opportunities to advance these causes. With a closely divided Congress, we must be vigilant and vocal in our advocacy.

Sign up with U.S. PIRG to stay informed and active on the issues being decided by your elected officials in Washington.