Policy Updates

On the Hill Updates: August 7, 2020

Federal Courts

Speak out against anti-abortion nominees

At its July 30 executive session, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nominations of David Dugan and Stephen McGlynn to US District Court for the Southern District of Illinois by a 13-9 vote. The full Senate will vote on these nominees sometime after the August recess. During his successful campaign for an Illinois state circuit court seat, David Dugan made it clear that he believed that life began at conception and that “. . . from that moment forward, taking that child’s life is the taking of a human life.” He questioned the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade and was involved in various organizations as an anti-abortion advocate. He supports biased counseling laws and restricting abortion access for young people. Stephen McGlynn was a leader in the Illinois Federation for Right to Life. He was endorsed in his campaign for the state appellate court by Illinois Citizens for Life PAC and by Family PAC, which is affiliated with the Illinois Family Institute, an organization designated as an anti-LGBTQ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. NCJW opposes David Dugan and Stephen McGlynn for lifetime seats on the federal bench.

  • Take Action! Contact your senators and urge them to oppose these two troubling anti-abortion district court nominees.

Economic Justice

House passes two child care bills

The COVID-19 pandemic is straining already tenuous state child care systems. On July 29, recognizing this critical issue for families, the House passed the Child Care is Essential Act (HR 7027, 249-163) and the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act (HR 7327, 250-161) with bipartisan support. In particular, HR 7027 would provide $50 billion in immediate relief to stabilize the child care sector. NCJW opposes the $15 billion for child care included in the Senate HEALS Act; instead, in order for our economy to recover and for working families to return to work, we support including at least $50 billion in immediate child care stabilization funds and long-term investments to ensure access to quality, affordable child care for workers in the next COVID-19 relief package.

  • Take Action! Sign NCJW’s petition urging Congress to include at least $50 billion in relief for the child care sector in the next COVID-19 relief package.

Human Needs

Senate stimulus package gathers dust

As of this writing, House and Senate leaders — both Democrats and Republicans — are no closer to passing a Senate COVID-relief package, even after millions of unemployed Americans saw the $600-a-week federal boost to state unemployment benefits expire last week. A deal for Democrats would need to include continuation of these benefits as well as a 15% increase in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and a 12-month moratorium on evictions for renters unable to pay. On the table for Republicans and the White House is an incentive of $105 billion for schools and colleges to resume in-person classes. Trump has indicated that he will bypass Congress to extend Unemployment Benefits and threatened additional executive actions if both sides cannot come to an agreement before the weekend. NCJW supports the House-passed HEROES Act, a robust response to the COVID-19 pandemic that directs more than $3 trillion to state and local governments, health systems, and a wide range of progressive initiatives.

  • Take Action! Urge your senators to take up the HEROES Act to address the immediate public health emergency, support families and workers, ensure fair and safe elections, and prepare for a successful recovery. 

Senate inaction spells CR ahead

In July, the House passed ten of the twelve annual spending bills needed to keep the federal government open past the end of September in two “minibus” packages, voting largely along party lines:

  • HR 7608, which included four bills: State-Foreign Operations, Agriculture-FDA, Interior-Environment, and Military Construction-VA.
  • HR 7617, which included six bills: Defense, Commerce-Justice-Science, Energy and Water, Financial Services, Labor-HHS-Education, and Transportation-HUD.

Republicans objected to policy riders and the inclusion of emergency funding — which would exceed the spending caps in last year’s agreement — to address the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, among other things. The White House threatened to veto both packages. The Homeland Security and Legislative Branch bills, approved by the House Appropriations Committee, remain outstanding. Senate appropriators indefinitely delayed markups originally planned for June due to disagreement over amendments related to the pandemic and to police practices. This means that the chambers are headed toward a Continuing Resolution (CR) at current spending levels to keep the government open past the end of September.

Sign-On Letters

  • On July 30, 50 organizations including NCJW sent a letter to President Trump in response to his tweet about delaying the presidential election.
  • On July 31, NCJW joined 51 organizations on a letter to congressional leadership urging them to include $50 billion to stabilize the child care sector in the next coronavirus relief package.
  • On August 3, NCJW wrote a sign-on letter joined by 19 Jewish organizations to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raising concerns about the treatment of Nylssa Krysthella Portillo Moreno in detention.

Related Resources