On the Hill Updates

On the Hill Update: Friday, June 25, 2021

Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice

First appropriations bill introduced without Hyde

On June 23, the House Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) appropriations bill for fiscal year 2022 was released and did not contain any abortion coverage restrictions. This means that the ban on the District of Columbia using its own Medicaid funds to provide insurance coverage of abortion, in addition to the ban on insurance coverage of abortion for federal employees and dependents, were both eliminated. To be clear, the original Hyde Amendment lives in the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill — impacting Medicaid, Medicare, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program — which is expected to be released in July. But the historic step of eliminating similar restrictions from the FSGG bill is a significant win that would not have been possible without the leadership of women of color, who have been organizing in their communities and educating elected leaders on the impact of this policy and why we need it gone. NCJW will continue to work to end all iterations of the Hyde Amendment to ensure respect, dignity, and equal access to the resources necessary to control our bodies, families, and futures, including insurance coverage of abortion.

  • Take Action! Urge your lawmakers to support the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH) Act (HR 2234/S 1021) to permanently end Hyde!

Federal Courts

Jackson-Akiwumi confirmed; Chief Judge Gelpi moves one step closer

On June 24, the Senate voted 53-40 to confirm Candace Jackson-Akiwumi to the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. With her confirmation, Jackson-Akiwumi — supported by NCJW — will be the only person of color serving on a circuit with jurisdiction over several highly diverse states, including Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana.

And, on June 23, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on Chief Judge Gustavo A. Gelpí, Jr., nominated to the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. As a Puerto Rican jurist, Chief Judge Gelpí would bring a much-needed perspective to the federal judiciary. In fact, his confirmation would make him the second judge from Puerto Rico to ever sit on the First Circuit.

  • Take Action! Contact your senators in support of Chief Judge Gelpi and other fair, independent, and qualified nominees supported by NCJW.

SCOTUS rules against unions

On June 23, the Supreme Court ruled that a California regulation granting union organizers access to employees is unconstitutional. The 6-3 ruling in Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid, one of NCJW’s cases to watch this term, is a setback for unions and workers’ rights.

Voting Rights

For the People Act fails procedural vote on June 22

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) held a procedural vote for the For the People Act (S1)* on June 22. The vote on whether the bill should proceed to debate needed 60 votes to pass and failed 50-50, with all Democrats voting in favor. On Tuesday morning, NCJW sent a letter to all Senate offices urging them to let the bill move to debate. After the failure, NCJW released a statement expressing our dismay and vowing to continue the fight to pass S1.

Even though the bill failed in the Senate this week, it is not dead! Majority Leader Schumer is expected to bring the For the People Act up again later in the summer. In the meantime, there is so much we can do to push this essential bill forward.

  • Take Action! Call your senators and tell them you support the For the People Act.
  • Go further! Click here to find how you can plug in near you (this resource will be updated with new opportunities on an ongoing basis).

*A reminder: The For the People Act (S1) is a transformational democracy bill that would strengthen and restore voting rights, offer new protections for voters, end the dominance of big money in politics, and implement anti-corruption, pro-ethics measures to clean up government. The bill passed the House of Representatives in March 2021.

Additional Updates

Bipartisan infrastructure deal reached

On June 24, President Biden and a bipartisan group of senators announced they had reached an agreement on a $1.2 trillion physical infrastructure bill. The package, focused on transportation, water, energy, and broadband, represents a segment of the president’s American Jobs Plan. The agreement is promising but not a guarantee that the compromise package will actually pass Congress.

In addition to trying to pass the infrastructure bill, Senate Democrats will push for passage of the remainder of reforms in the American Jobs Plan as well as the measures in the president’s American Families Plan via reconciliation in the coming months. These policies include paid family and medical leave, investments in child care and education, expanded nutrition assistance, tax credits to lower health insurance premiums, and an extension of the expanded child tax credit (CTC). It’s essential that these progressive and NCJW priorities are not left behind in the wake of the bipartisan deal.

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