On the Hill Updates

On the Hill Updates: Thursday, July 29, 2021

Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice

House passes appropriations bills without abortion coverage bans

This week, lawmakers in the House of Representatives achieved historic victories for reproductive freedom. On July 28, the House passed the FY22 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs spending bill (HR 4373), which would permanently repeal the global gag rule, remove Helms Amendment restrictions and make critical investments in family planning and reproductive health across the globe. The following day, the FY22 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies funding bill (HR 4502) was passed without the discriminatory Hyde Amendment, which denies abortion coverage to those enrolled in federal health plans and programs. NCJW is honored to celebrate these long-awaited achievements alongside our partners in the All* Above All coalition and women of color who have led the fight to end Hyde for over 40 years.

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

Federal Courts

Senate Judiciary Committee to vote on Myrna Pérez’s nomination

The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on August 5 to advance the nomination of Myrna Pérez for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Extraordinarily qualified with extensive experience both as a litigator and a legal academic, Pérez would be the only Latina on the court and the first since Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor was elevated to the US Supreme Court. NCJW strongly supports Myrna Pérez for the Second Circuit.

Multiple nominees await confirmation vote in Senate

There are three circuit court nominees awaiting votes in the Senate: Chief Judge Gustavo Gelpí to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit,  Eunice Lee 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. Additionally, Lee and Rossman have spent their careers as public defenders, with Lee representing more than 380 clients over the past 20 years and Rossman representing over 250 clients in the last 12 years. NCJW supports all three nominees for lifetime appointments to the federal bench.

Voting Rights

March On for Voting Rights

On Saturday, August 28, March On, SEIU, National Action Network and the Drum Major Institute are organizing a “March On for Voting Rights” to demand that legislatures across the country end their push for restrictive voting laws and that Congress pass the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Restoration Act. These critical bills will ensure free, fair access to the ballot for every American voter. Marches will be held in Atlanta, Houston, Miami and Phoenix, where voting rights are under attack, and in Washington, DC, where Congress is debating voting rights legislation. Learn how to get involved!

Revised voting bill?

Senate Democrats are meeting this week on a revised voting rights bill that follows a framework released by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) last month. Early reports say the bill will address “election subversion” (when state officials override local election boards), gerrymandering, vote by mail, and automatic voter registration. It also may include a national voter ID requirement, which is extremely troubling as voter ID mandates disproportionately harm BIPOC voters. Draft legislation could be revealed later this week. NCJW will wait to see whether legislation is forthcoming, and what is in the bill, before taking a position.

Additional Updates

Bipartisan infrastructure deal advances in Senate

Senate negotiators announced this week that they reached a deal on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which includes “hard” infrastructure priorities like roads, bridges, water, and transit. The $550 billion legislation, which passed a Senate procedural vote on July 28, follows weeks of negotiation. While details are still being finalized, most pundits think it is likely to pass.

The bipartisan infrastructure bill is one of two tracks being pursued by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY); the other track is the next COVID recovery package, which will be passed using a legislative procedure known as reconciliation. (A reconciliation bill only needs a simple majority, or 51 votes, to pass.) Senate Democrats on the Budget Committee released topline numbers on the recovery package two weeks ago, but progressive and moderate Democrats are far from agreement — and the bill is not expected to garner any Republican support. The recovery bill will include “soft” infrastructure priorities, including paid leave, childcare, health care reforms, and a path to citizenship for certain categories of immigrants. NCJW cares deeply that these priorities become law, and we know that the only way to get both bills passed by a divided Democratic caucus is to pair them together. The next two weeks will be critical to the fate of both the bipartisan infrastructure and recovery bills.

  • Take Action! Tell your senators that Congress must pass a broad recovery package that helps women, children, and families alongside an infrastructure package.

AG rolls back Trump-era precedent harming survivors of domestic violence

Attorney General Merrick Garland overturned a Trump-era asylum precedent that undermined protections for survivors of domestic violence and other gender-related persecution on July 27. This means judges can no longer use this precedent to prejudge and wrongly deny asylum cases involving women, children, and families escaping violence in their homes and communities. NCJW signed on to a letter urging the Biden Administration to make this and other reforms to our nation’s asylum system.

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