On the Hill Updates

On the Hill Updates: Thurs., Aug. 26, 2021

Federal Courts

Texas can ban common abortion procedure

Last week, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Texas law banning the standard abortion method used after 15 weeks of pregnancy, dilation and evacuation (called D&E). Texas passed the law in 2017, and it was initially struck down by a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit. Texas then appealed the case to be heard en banc (which means that all judges in the circuit hear the case); nine judges ruled in favor of the ban, five dissented, and three were recused. It is likely the case will end up before the Supreme Court.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, D&E is a standard medical procedure and safest form of abortion after approximately 15 weeks of pregnancy. It also results in fewer complications for women than other methods. The Texas ban will most harm women and pregnant people of color, who face additional barriers to accessing abortion care that can delay treatment until after 15 weeks. NCJW decries this ruling and will not stop our work to ensure that every single person can make their own moral and faith-informed decisions about their body, health, and future.

Remain in Mexico reinstated, for now

Earlier this month, a federal judge in Texas ruled that the Biden administration had ended the Trump-era Remain in Mexico program unlawfully. Remain in Mexico, formally known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), forced immigrants and asylum seekers to stay in Mexico — often in dangerous circumstances — for the duration of their legal process to enter the US. President Biden suspended the program his first day in office, then tried to end the program in early June. The Biden administration asked the court to put the ruling on hold while the case was appealed, but this week the Supreme Court ruled that the administration must reinstate Remain in Mexico. Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan dissented from the ruling. NCJW urges the administration to act quickly to permanently end this harmful program.

Votes on judicial nominees expected following Senate recess

Three circuit court nominees supported by NCJW are awaiting Senate votes when they return from August recess: Chief Judge Gustavo Gelpí to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, Myrna Pérez to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and Veronica Rossman to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. As a Puerto Rican jurist, Chief Judge Gelpí would bring a much-needed perspective to the federal judiciary. Pérez is widely considered one of our nation’s top legal minds on voting rights and has argued complex cases in federal and state courthouses across the country. And, Rossman has spent her career as a public defender, representing over 250 clients in the last 12 years.

Take Action! Urge your senators to support the nominations of Chief Judge Gelpí, Myrna Pérez, and Veronica Rossman.


John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act passes House

On August 24, the House of Representatives passed the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (HR 4) along party lines, 219-212. The bill will restore the essential portion of the Voting Rights Act that blocks discriminatory voting policies before they go into effect, putting a transparent process in place for protecting everyone’s freedom to vote. The bill now heads to the Senate, where its future is uncertain given that it does not have the 60 votes needed to overcome the filibuster. NCJW celebrated the passage of this essential bill.

March On for Voting Rights

On August 28, the 58th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic March on Washington, NCJW is joining March On, SEUI, National Action Network, and the Drum Major Institute for national action: March On for Voting Rights. We’ll gather in Washington, DC, Atlanta, Miami, and Phoenix — and other cities across the country — to demand that elected officials denounce voter suppression and ensure fair, easy access to the vote for all.

If you’re in the greater DC area, join us! NCJW leaders, staff, and advocates are meeting at 9:30 am by the Corner Bakery at Vermont Ave & K St NW. Look for our t-shirts and signs! The march then kicks off from McPherson Square at 9:45 am and ends with a rally on the National Mall (see the full route here).

Additional Updates

Reconciliation process begins

After Senate passage last week, the House of Representatives followed suit and passed the FY 2022 Budget Resolution on August 24. The resolution includes reconciliation instructions directing the federal government to make a $3.5 trillion investment to advance President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda. These instructions shape the final budget reconciliation bill, which needs only a simple majority of 51 votes to pass. Congressional committees have until September 15 to draft bill text, but we know it will include many NCJW priorities: expanding health care, implementing paid leave, fighting child poverty, investing in education, and creating a path to citizenship for millions of immigrant youth, people with Temporary Protected Status (TPS), farmworkers, and essential workers. NCJW cares deeply that these priorities become law.

  • Take Action! Tell your senators that Congress must build an economy that helps families.

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