ICYMI: Courage for America Launches National Campaign to Stop a MAGA Shutdown

Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s office refused to accept a petition with over 115,000 signatories

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Yesterday, Courage for America launched a national campaign to stop a MAGA shutdown, which would harm millions of Americans, especially our troops, veterans, seniors and people with disabilities. In the morning, Courage for America launched a significant six-figure TV and digital ad campaign targeting over a dozen extreme House Republicans, including Lauren Boebert (CO-03) and Matt Gaetz (FL-01).

In addition to the national ad launch, Courage for America hosted Gen Z social media influencers on Capitol Hill yesterday. They met with Representatives Veronica Escobar, Lauren Underwood, Mark Takano and Maxwell Frost, to discuss why Gen Z Americans are opposed to MAGA extremists shutting down the government and holding our democracy hostage. In partnership with MoveOn, Win Without War and Americans for Tax Fairness, the influencers attempted to deliver a petition with over 115,000 signatories to the office of Speaker Kevin McCarthy, urging him to stop a MAGA shutdown. However, McCarthy’s office refused to accept the petitions.

“Courage for America was built for times like this – when our Congressional leaders need reminding, through the stories of everyday Americans, that their job is to fight for all of us. That’s why we are going on the offensive, taking the fight to their home turf in order to stop a MAGA shutdown before it’s too late,” said José Morales Jr., spokesperson for Courage for America. “While unsurprising, it is deeply disappointing that Speaker Kevin McCarthy refused to listen to the voices of thousands of Americans who are concerned about a government shutdown and the deep cuts MAGA extremists are pushing for. Courage for America will ensure their voices will not be silenced.”

“Let’s be clear: the Republican Party’s brinkmanship will have dangerous consequences for the economy and working families will be the ones paying the price. The GOP are risking an economic catastrophe for cuts that would make life harder for everyday people – raising costs for families and hurting students, seniors, and rural communities. Their MAGA chaos agenda is out-of-step with the vast majority of the country on the issues that actually impact their day-to-day lives. It’s time for House Republicans to do their jobs and stop holding our communities hostage,” said Rahna Epting, Executive Director of MoveOn.


(All images free for use with credit to Courage for America)

(Gen Z social media influencers gather together in the Capitol rotunda) 

(Influencers attempt to deliver petitions to Speaker McCarthy’s office) 

(Nikita Redkar in conversation with Rep. Maxwell Frost) 

(Influencers in conversation with Rep. Lauren Underwood) 

(Matt Bernstein meeting with Rep. Mark Takano)

To speak with one of the social media influencers or a Courage for America spokesperson, contact [email protected] 


About Courage for America
Courage For America is a campaign advised by a council of proud Americans speaking out against an extreme MAGA agenda that puts money and power over the rights and freedoms of the American people. The campaign is amplifying the voices of Americans in communities across the country — veterans, educators, faith leaders, and more — to demand the People’s House works for the people.

About the Influencers

  • Andrew Townsend (TikTok) is a creator who creates fun facts focused content about various topics. Originally from Ohio, he is now based in Florida and finishing college.
  • Chante Reddest (Instagram and TikTok) is a creator who creates content primarily about his culture. He is focused on creating content that inspires the next generation and is passionate about various issues.
  • Jose Enrique Aguilar Hernandez (Instagram and TikTok) is a creator who primarily creates skits and comedic content. He often comments on issues he is passionate about in partnership with nonprofits.
  • Matt Bernstein (Instagram and TikTok), popularly known as ‘mattxiv’, is creator and podcast host who creates content primarily educating his audience on various LGBTQ+ issues.
  • Nikita Redkar (Instagram and TikTok) is a writer, comedian and actor based out of New York City. Originally from Texas, the plethora of shows she has written or been featured in can be found on her website.
  • Richie Fontane (Instagram and TikTok) is a comedian and content creator best known for hosting his comedy show Late Night with Richie Fontane. He is currently on tour, selling out shows across the United States.
  • Schuyler Bailar (Instagram), also known as ‘Pinkmantaray’, is an educator, author, advocate and content creator. He is the first transgender athlete to compete in any sport on the NCAA Division 1 Men’s team.
  • Syanne Bloom (Instagram and TikTok) is more than just a model; she’s a voice. She is a leading disability rights activist, political science scholar, and sought-after professional model. Beyond the runway, she’s a dedicated Council member for Courage for America.

Courage for America Commemorates Anniversary of September 11

“Today and every day, we must honor their courage by fighting for the democracy they protected”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Courage for America Council Members Naveed Shah, a U.S. Army Veteran, and former D.C. Police Officer Michael Fanone, commemorated the 22nd anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

“As we commemorate the anniversary of 9/11, I recall the feelings I had as a child, witnessing the attack on the Pentagon only miles away from my school. As a young Muslim American, I chose to serve my country to uphold the principles of democracy and protect the values we hold dear. It’s those same ideals that drive me to want a better America for my kids and yours,” said Naveed Shah, Courage for America Council Member and U.S. Army Veteran.

“Every day, our men and women in uniform answer the call to service because of love for our country and understanding that the freedoms we enjoy are not presumed but instead must be protected and valued. The horrific attacks on 9/11 showed our country how vital our law enforcement’s bravery is and just how fragile our freedoms and safety can be. Today and every day, we must honor their courage by fighting for the democracy they protected. The stakes could not be higher,” said Michael Fanone, Courage for America Council Member and Former DC Police Officer Injured in the January 6th Insurrection.



Former Army Captain Steven Kling Condemns Chip Roy’s New Bill to Defund Critical Program at the Marine Corps University

“It is both inappropriate and ethically reprehensible that Congressman Roy would trivialize the sacrifices of our service members by choosing culture wars and cheap partisan politics over our military readiness.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Courage for America Council Member Steven Kling, a former United States Army Captain, combat veteran and TX-21 constituent, responded to news reports that Congressman Chip Roy (TX-21) introduced a bill late last week to defund the Reynolds Scholar Program at the Marine Corps University. The Reynolds Program is named after retired Lieutenant General Lori Reynolds, the third woman to earn the rank of Lieutenant General in Marine Corps history.

“Our military schools and institutions are critical components of our nation’s security apparatus and to the readiness of our military. It is unconscionable that Congressman Roy, like so many career politicians who have not served in uniform themselves, is joining continued efforts to weaken our military and country. From blocking critical appointments of military leadership to now stripping away important scholarships from our men and women in uniform, ideologues like Chip Roy continue to let their misguided, extreme views sow chaos and disharmony in our ranks,” said Courage for America Council Member Captain Steven Kling. “Those of us in uniform took a sacred oath to defend this country and protect the freedoms of every American. It is both inappropriate and ethically reprehensible that Congressman Roy would trivialize the sacrifices of our service members by choosing culture wars and cheap partisan politics over our military readiness. This is yet another example of MAGA extremists attempting to hold critical military and veteran services hostage – and it comes at the expense of our nation’s stability and security.”

Background information:

  • Congressman Roy introduced a bill on Thursday to defund the Reynolds Scholar Program as an amendment to the House’s Department of Defense appropriations bill.
  • The Marine Corps University is a federally funded professional military educational institute serving Marine, other service, international, and civilian students.
  • The Reynolds Scholar Program was established as part of the Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017 and is named after retired Lieutenant General Lori Reynolds, the third woman to earn the rank of Lieutenant General in Marine Corps history.



ICYMI — Fresh Air: Latest Trump indictment could lead to even more disruption in the House

MAGA and McCarthy’s Blind Loyalty to Trump and Attempts to Cover Their Own Anti-Democratic Actions Could End In Government Shutdown

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Wednesday, NPR’s Fresh Air dug into the far ranging implications, and deep seated origin, of House Republicans’ defense of Donald Trump amid his criminal indictment.

Fresh Air’s guest, Annie Karni, Congressional correspondent for The New York Times, detailed how MAGA Republicans are rushing to defend Trump’s actions because they themselves played a key role in the conspiracy. Karni also laid out the real risk that MAGA House Republicans will shut down the entire federal government as direct retaliation for Trump’s indictment and arraignment.

For his part, as Karni explained, Speaker McCarthy has no control over the chaos, owing his tenuous leadership role to both Trump and the far-right MAGA caucus willing to manufacture an economic crisis just to show their loyalty to the former president.

Read key experts from the episode below and listen to the full episode here:

On far-right and baseless claims of 2020 election fraud:

Annie Karni: “And a lot of the base – you know, this big lie that, you know, the election was stolen is a big part of what a lot of the hardcore base believes now. It’s definitional. So they are defending themselves. They’re defending their appeal with their constituents.

On McCarthy and Trump:

Annie Karni: “With Kevin McCarthy, he owes his speakership to Donald Trump. He would not have been able to pass that debt ceiling deal without Trump agreeing to stay silent and not criticize the deal. His whole speakership depends on not alienating Donald Trump.”

On McCarthy and the far-right:
Annie Karni: “So they feel like they own [McCarthy]. He made these agreements with them, and that’s the only reason he’s speaker. And that June moment when they shut down the floor was a reminder – hey, you can’t function without us. […]  He caves to them at every turn.”

On McCarthy and Marjorie Taylor Greene:
Annie Karni: “She was loyal to him during the moments when it really looked like [McCarthy] was going to fail yet again at rising to become a speaker. And he has repaid her with treating her like a top policy adviser, standing up for her, fundraising for her, like, treating her like a serious member of Congress, which is what she’s become now in McCarthy – in the McCarthy-led House.”

On a potential MAGA-induced government shutdown: 
Annie Karni: “I mean, these charging documents have great big-picture implications for democracy and the future of our country, but granularly for Congress, we saw some statements put out last night that, you know, raise real questions about funding the government. In September, for instance, Marjorie Taylor Greene said that the indictment was a line in the sand and that she will not vote to fund a weaponized government while it politically persecutes not only President Trump but all conservative Americans. […] So if we see more Republicans adopt that – I mean, that’s pretty extreme – but adopt a line that if this is what the government’s going to be doing, they can’t vote for funding the government, that could be the nail in the coffin for appropriations bills this fall if this is the way Republicans choose to retaliate and seek revenge for Trump.”

For questions or additional commentary, please contact [email protected].

Trump Indictment Shows MAGA Republicans’ Only Focus Is Staying in Power

As MAGA Leaders Loudly Defend Trump, Some Republicans Stay Silent in A Tacit Show of Support

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Ever since news broke of former President Trump’s indictment for his role in attempting a coup on January 6th, 2021, Republican Members of Congress are quickly falling into line in their response – either offering a full throated defense of the criminal activity or avoiding making any meaningful comment whatsoever. After a flurry of support yesterday, some MAGA Republicans are choosing the latter – suddenly going silent on the historic turn of events while happily letting their colleagues defend Trump at all costs. But make no mistake, both approaches deliver the same result: an absolute failure to stand up for our democracy in favor of supporting an extreme, dangerous MAGA agenda.

“MAGA Republicans have proved time and again that they would put their own power over their country,” said José Morales, Jr., spokesperson for Courage for America. “House Republicans’ responses – ranging from defense to deafening silence – demonstrate how little American democracy means to them and the degree to which they’ll put their extreme, anti-voter agenda above all else.”

The following are statements that MAGA Republicans released:

“Jack Smith and his indictment will forever go down in history as a total disgrace to the United States of America. President Trump defended our democracy, and we have an obligation to defend him against the Deep State’s crusade to destroy our movement.” – Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL)

“He [Trump] said it best. ‘In the end, they’re not coming after me. They’re coming after you — and I’m just standing in their way.’ – @realDonaldTrump” – Rep. Eli Crane (R-AZ)

“Trump will have his day in court to present his defense. I trust our judicial system to sift through both sides of the case and find a just verdict.” – Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE)

“There really is a challenge in this country right now. A lot of people do feel there are two tiers of justice […] And obviously the former president getting indicted multiple times. So people feel there are two tiers of justice, that the Justice Department has been weaponized, and I think that is a real challenge in our country.” – Rep. Mike Lawler (R-NY)

To learn more or to speak with a Courage for America spokesperson, contact [email protected]

Former DC Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone Responds To Trump Indictment, MAGA House Members Defending Former President

Officer Michael Fanone: “It disgusts me that House Republicans are heinously coming to the defense of Trump’s criminal behavior while putting up the foundation of our democracy as collateral.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, former President Donald J. Trump was indicted on four counts connected to his attempt to remain in power after losing the 2020 election. MAGA Republicans in the House have continuously come to Trump’s defense, making excuses for his criminal conduct and dismissing the irrevocable damage to our democracy that took place as a direct result of his false claims of election fraud. Former DC Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone responded to the numerous MAGA Republicans, like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Rep. Elise Stefanik, who have gone on the record defending Trump for his conduct in the lead up to January 6th.

“Our justice system has a duty to try those who commit crimes, and Donald Trump must answer for his — he is not above the law and his attack on our democracy was un-American, despicable, and unforgivable,” said Michael Fanone, Courage for America council member and former DC Police officer injured in the Jan. 6 insurrection. “I saw the Trump-fueled MAGA attack before my eyes. It was calculated, premeditated, and malicious. It disgusts me that House Republicans are heinously coming to the defense of Trump’s criminal behavior while putting up the foundation of our democracy as collateral.”

For questions or additional commentary, please contact [email protected].

NEW POLL: Americans Aren’t Fooled; Survey Finds MAGA Republicans’ Big Lie Bill Is Unpopular

Navigator Research: “Americans reject Republican policies like banning mail-in voting, banning same-day voter registration, and reducing the number of public drop boxes for mail-in ballots.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — New polling from Navigator Research shows that Americans reject the anti-voting rights Big Lie Bill, also known as the ACE Act. On the other hand, there is vast support among Americans for the Freedom to Vote Act, House Democrats’ bill that would expand voting rights and protections.

“This recent polling from Navigator is clear: Americans reject the Big Lie Bill and want an open and accessible democracy free from partisan hurdles.” said José Morales, Jr., Courage for America Senior Campaign Director. “MAGA Republicans’ Big Lie Bill is a direct attempt to disenfranchise voters, specifically marginalized voters, and the American people resoundingly reject that proposition. Working Americans want voting systems that are more accessible, not more difficult. And when more people participate in our democracy, we are all better off.”

Navigator Research’s Key Findings:

  • The newly-introduced American Confidence in Elections (ACE) from congressional Republicans is already underwater among Americans, including among independents and people of color. 
  • By a 7-point margin, Americans oppose the ACE Act when described as a bill that would “ban same-day voter registration, ban universal mail-in voting, institute stricter voter ID laws for both mail and in-person voting, and reduce the number of public drop boxes for mail-in-ballots” (40 percent support – 47 percent oppose).
  • Conversely, the Freedom to Vote Act — voting rights legislation proposed by Democrats in 2021 and recently reintroduced in the House — earned support from more than three in five Americans in an October 2021 survey when described as “legislation that would establish national standards to protect Americans’ freedom to vote, require every state to have automatic voter registration, make Election Day a holiday, restore federal voting rights to formerly incarcerated Americans, and address ‘dark money’ in the electoral process, by modernizing and expanding federal campaign finance reforms” (net +35; 61 percent support – 26 percent oppose).

The complete survey from Navigator Research can be found here.

For questions or additional commentary, please contact [email protected].

ICYMI: MAGA’s Big Lie Bill Passed Through Committee, Going to a Full House Vote

Sponsor Rep. Bryan Steil: “The most conservative election integrity bill to be seriously considered in the House in over 20 years.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Over the past couple of weeks, MAGA Republicans have introduced and passed through committee a draconian anti-democratic bill aimed at intimidating voters and stealing elections. Now, the bill will receive a full vote in the House of Representatives. The MAGA Republican bill is extreme: refusing to acknowledge that Donald Trump lost the 2020 election and protecting undemocratic gerrymanders. All while intimidating and disenfranchising voters. The MAGA voter intimidation act would make it harder for Americans to vote by risking access to same day voter registration options and ballot drop boxes.

“Time and again, MAGA Republicans prove they’re willing to step on working Americans to maintain their grip on power,” said José Morales, Jr., spokesperson for Courage for America. “This bill is dangerous and only serves to entrench MAGA extremists’ hold on power so they can continue to ignore the majority of Americans who want to see voting to be safer and easier, not harder. Courage for America will fight back against this bill every step of the way.”

To learn more or to speak with a Courage for America spokesperson, contact [email protected]

Courage for America Letter to Democratic Leadership Expressing Support for Combatting the Big Lie Bill

The Honorable Charles E. Schumer 

Majority Leader

322 Hart Senate Office Building 

Washington, DC  20510


The Honorable Hakeem S. Jeffries 

Democratic Leader

2433 Rayburn House Office Building 

Washington, DC  20515


Courage for America Letter to Democratic Leadership 

Expressing Support for Combatting the Big Lie Bill 


Dear Senate Majority Leader Schumer and House Democratic Leader Jeffries, 

As Republican elected officials across the country continue their efforts to undermine our democracy, we write to you to express our strong support in your efforts to combat the Big Lie bill currently known as the American Confidence in Elections (ACE) Act. 

As veterans, community leaders, educators, and members of working families from across the country, we all share a deep respect for our democracy and the freedoms we’ve fought for. Equally, we are appalled by the blatant disregard for voting rights protections by your Republican counterparts. 

The extremist majority has made a frighteningly anti-democratic choice: more power for the wealthy and the few and less representation for us and our families. We cannot let MAGA extremists continue to sink their claws into our elections. We cannot allow them to let the intimidation of our elections run free. We cannot let them decide to overturn election results simply because they didn’t win. We watched with dismay on Thursday, July 13 as the entire Republican membership of the Committee on House Administration voted against recognizing that President Joe Biden won the 2020 election. The ACE Act is an affront to all of us who have fought for a democracy that has the people– not the powerful– at its core. 

Those of us signing this letter come from different backgrounds and all different walks of life  and places on the ideological spectrum. But we stand united on this truth: voting is a fundamental right, voting should be easily accessible to everyone, and our elected officials should fight for a democracy that protects us from intimidation at the ballot box. MAGA extremists have taken over the House with this misguided step away from democracy known as the ACE Act, but we are undeterred. The Big Lie Bill is nowhere near as big as our dedication to a vibrant and diverse democracy.

In the face of such an extreme departure from democracy, we are so thankful for your leadership in bringing forth legislation that expands and protects our elections. Our Council, our country, and our democracy are depending on you– and you can count on our help.


Courage for America Councilmembers


Ian Horowitz

Wes Davis

Randy Brockway

Michael Fanone

Danielle Hindieh 


Peggy Bilsten


ICYMI: Reintroduction of Freedom to Vote Act Shows Stark Contrast From MAGA Voter Intimidation Bill

Democrats respond to draconian MAGA voter suppression bill with counter-legislation protecting voting rights

“Our elected officials should be making it easier, not harder, for us to vote”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Yesterday, House and Senate Democrats reintroduced the Freedom to Vote Act as a direct response to the extreme voter intimidation act that House Republicans introduced last week. Democrats’ rival bill is a measure against the MAGA bill which Leader Jeffries said would “turn back the clock” on democracy. The Freedom to Vote Act would actively work to protect voters in marginalized communities from disenfranchisement, a clear contrast from the MAGA voter intimidation act that would make voting harder for those very communities and flame the fires of election lies and distrust in democracy. Democrats yesterday made their stance on the issue clear – they’re ready to fight to protect and ensure voting protections and stand up to MAGA extremists in the House.

Statements from Democratic leadership and representatives on the fight for voting rights below:

“Democracy is facing unprecedented threats… We know that in order to make real progress on the issues we care about, the foundation of our democracy must be strong,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. 

“We are locked in an existential struggle here in the United States of America, between the forces of democracy and the forces of autocracy. Between freedom and tyranny, between truth … and propaganda,” said House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries. 

“MAGA extremists are working to restrict voter access, to undermine faith in our elections and to dilute the power of the Black vote,” said Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL). 

Courage for America’s Senior Advisor, José Morales, Jr., gave a video statement from the Capitol. Watch here.


For questions or additional commentary, please contact [email protected].

Courage for America: MAGA-fied NDAA Bill Attacks Veterans’ Freedoms in Newest Front of Republicans’ “Culture War”

McCarthy’s far-right military spending bill includes anti-abortion provisions, strips reproductive freedom from veterans  

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Reporting from The Hill and Punchbowl this morning showcases the efforts of the MAGA-led House, with help from Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy, to push for abortion restrictions within the newest provisions to the NDAA, or National Defense Authorization Act. What should be a bipartisan and routine passage of a military spending bill has turned far-right as McCarthy gives the reins to the most extreme in his party to strip freedoms from those who have served or are currently serving.

McCarthy is once again supporting the outlandish and dangerous demands of the most conservative hardliners in his party, pandering to their demands for incendiary amendments ranging from critical race theory, transgender medical services, and Ukraine.

“MAGA hardliners’ efforts to commandeer the NDAA is wrong,” said Charonda Johnson, U.S. Air Force veteran. “The NDAA should never be politicized because it is about ensuring our nation’s security. Instead of supporting our veterans, these MAGA amendments go after the health care and personal freedoms of the men and women who have served this country. McCarthy and his MAGA House Republicans are showing, yet again, that they will step on anyone, including active duty service members and veterans, to advance their most extreme, far-right agenda yet.”

For questions or additional commentary, please contact [email protected].

Courage for America on MAGA Voter Intimidation Bill: “MAGA Republicans Have Shown They’re Willing to Use Any Strategy […] to Usurp Power”

MAGA Republicans’ Efforts to Disenfranchise Voters, Further Empower Mega Donors Must be Called Out 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, MAGA House Republicans formally introduced their bill to intimidate voters, boost the influence of billionaires and corporations in our democracy, and clear a path to overturn any election results that get in the way of their power grab.

At a time when record numbers of young people and people of color are registering to vote and participating in our democracy, this bill would disenfranchise millions by enacting draconian anti-voter policies that directly contradict what Americans have already said they support to protect their freedom to vote. The bill also furthers the power of special interests and corporate mega donors over the voice of voters, despite waning trust in our democracy, and turns Washington, DC into a legislative playground for MAGA Republicans to experiment with voter suppression measures.

Naveed Shah, spokesperson for Courage for America, released the following statement in response to the introduction of MAGA Republicans’ extreme anti-voter bill:

“I fought for this country because I believe in defending democracy, yet time and again, MAGA Republicans in the House prove that some of the greatest threats to democracy are at home. This bill that empowers those who violently stormed the Capitol on January 6th is the newest, and perhaps gravest, threat in their fight to intimidate voters.”

“MAGA Republicans have shown they’re willing to use any strategy, from violence to manipulating the legal system, to usurp power. These people are not ‘patriots.’ This extreme anti-voter act is a blatant display of the MAGA Republicans’ deep disdain for the struggle for true democracy. It stands in sharp contrast to the values of freedom, equality, and justice that America is built on. Courage for America will stand firm in holding every politician who champions this antidemocratic legislation accountable.”

For questions or additional commentary, please contact [email protected].