Policy Updates

On the Hill Updates: August 9, 2019

Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice 

Health care discrimination comment period ends 8/13 

On May 24, the Trump administration announced that it would roll back critical nondiscrimination protections found in Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. The proposed rule eliminates gender identity, sex stereotyping, and termination of pregnancy from prohibitions against discrimination “on the basis of sex,” encouraging health care providers and entities to refuse care to vulnerable patients. Significantly, the proposal ignores the moral principle that all deserve equal access to health care, tramples individual religious liberty, and will have serious negative implications for the health of women and LGBTQ individuals. NCJW works to secure equal rights and opportunities for all people and to eliminate all forms of discrimination; the Trump administration’s coordinated and sustained attacks women’s health, youth health, immigrant health, LGBTQ health, the health of communities of color, and the health of those struggling to make ends meet will not stand.  

  • Take Action! Fortunately, there is still time to encourage the Trump administration to #PutPatientsFirst and to prevent finalization of this proposal. Use NCJW’s resources to make your voice heard before the comment period closes at 11:59 pm ET on August 13. 

Federal Courts 

House Members Request Kavanaugh’s White House Records

On August 6, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet Chairman Hank Johnson (D-GA) sent a letter to the National Archives and Records Administration to request that the National Archives complete its review and release records to the Committee related to Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s service in the White House from 2001 to 2006, when he served as Staff Secretary and in the White House Counsel’s Office. The Members noted that during Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation process, the Senate Judiciary Committee received only a small fraction of Justice Kavanaugh’s White House record before voting on his nomination. In April, NCJW joined a letter organized by Demand Justice urging the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees to investigate Kavanaugh’s sham confirmation process. This week’s request is an extremely important first step in repairing the damage that Kavanaugh’s confirmation did to the integrity of the Supreme Court and the Senate. 

Legal victory for asylum seekers 

On August 2, a federal judge in DC vacated President Trump’s first asylum ban, which would have barred people who crossed the border between official ports of entry from seeking asylum. The ban was issued in November 2018 and was put on hold in December. The government is likely to appeal. A second asylum ban is still in effect; Asylum Ban 2.0 bars migrants from seeking asylum if they travelled through a third country before arriving at the southern border. NCJW opposes these continued attacks on asylum seekers.

Gun Violence Prevention 

Tell Leader McConnell to #DoSomething 

In the week since the horrific shootings in El Paso and Dayton, preceded by a mass shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival at the end of June, the Senate has yet to take action on two gun violence prevention measures passed by the House. The Bipartisan Background Checks Act (HR 8) would establish universal background checks on all gun sales while the Enhanced Background Checks Act (HR 1112) would provide additional time to allow a background check to be completed before a firearm sale. As Jews and people of conscience, we have an obligation to care for and protect our neighbors and end the epidemic of gun violence. 

  • Take Action! Tell Leader McConnell to #DoSomething by signing this letter urging him to call the Senate back from August recess to consider gun safety legislation. 
  • Go further! Urge senators to expand background checks by passing a bill similar to the House-passed HR 8: S 42, the Background Check Expansion Act. 


Raids in Mississippi 

This week, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested 680 people during raids in Mississippi. ICE officials said it was the largest workplace action in more than a decade. For many families in the area, it was the first day of school, meaning that many children came home to find their parents missing. Raids are another example of how the Trump administration is separating families and terrorizing immigrant communities. NCJW condemns these cruel actions.  

Take action during August Recess 

Our government’s treatment of immigrants and asylum seekers, including children, is deplorable. Families and individuals seeking better lives are packed into holding cells, cages, and tents. They lack food, water, and medical care, are denied soap and toothpaste, and report harassment and abuse. Nevertheless, Congress continues to fund those responsible for creating these conditions in the first place and the administration crows over their “success” at deterring people from our border. 

Congress is on recess during August, meaning that lawmakers are in their home states and districts. It’s the perfect time to take action to #CloseTheCampsHere’s how:

  1. Rally with NCJW, T’ruah, and other Jewish partners on Tisha B’Av to #CloseTheCamps. Plan a protest in front of a detention facility or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office. 
  2. Plan an in-district visit with your lawmakers. Tell your elected officials to reduce funding for immigration enforcement and close the camps. 
  3. Publish an LTE or Op-EdEngage the media, your community, and Members of Congress by sharing your thoughts in your local or national paper. 


  • On August 6, NCJW joined a public statement with the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Voto Latino, MoveOn, and 100 other civil rights and gun reform organizations in response to the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. 
  • On August 7, NCJW joined 161 Jewish organizations – including numerous NCJW sections – on a letter to Secretary of State Pompeo demanding higher refugee admissions. 

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