Policy Updates

On the Hill Updates: May, 4 2018


Extremist nominees headed to Senate floor

Next week the Senate is expected to vote on federal appeals court nominee Michael Brennan to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, who lacks the approval of his Senator, Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and his state’s judicial nominating commission. This disregard of process would set a new low. On the horizon are other dangerous nominees: Wendy Vitter, nominated to the US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, who has vigorously opposed women’s access to contraception and the constitutional right to abortion; David Porter, nominated for the Pennsylvania seat on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, who opposes worker, reproductive, marriage equality, and environmental rights; and, Andrew S. Oldham, nominated to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, who is an ideological warrior bent on curtailing critical rights and protections for everyday people. These extremist judges all share a desire to rollback — instead of safeguarding — our most cherished rights. NCJW opposes these nominees who call into question whether they have the integrity needed to hold a lifetime seat on the federal bench.
NCJW opposes these nominees who call into question whether they have the integrity needed to hold a lifetime seat on the federal bench.

Take Action: Tell your senators we need fair, diverse, and independent judges who believe everyone should have an equal voice in our democracy.

Health Care

Anniversary of health care repeal bill


A year ago this week, the US House of Representatives passed the “American Health Care Act,” or AHCA, a health care repeal bill that would have cut coverage, increased costs, and eliminated protections for millions of Americans. The repeal plan allowed insurers to charge individuals over 50 years of age five times more for coverage and gutted protections for those with pre-existing conditions, raising costs for a cancer patient by $150,000. Additionally, the AHCA would have ended Medicaid in its current form by slashing funding by $839 billion and converting the program into a “per capita cap,” eliminating guaranteed coverage for everyone who has it. Due to constituent pressure from groups like NCJW, this  plan did not pass the Senate. As of now, there are no health care legislative repeal bills up for a vote.

Exciting opportunity for health care expansion

The Choose Medicare Act (S 2708), introduced on April 18 by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), would create a new Medicare plan available to individuals of all ages in every part of the country, using the infrastructure established by the Affordable Care Act. The new Medicare plan (referred to as ‘Part E’) would be offered on all State and Federal Exchanges and cover the same benefits as traditional Medicare, as well as additional benefits to meet the needs of the young people who may enroll. The Medicare Part E plan would: leverage the existing network and low administrative costs of the Medicare program while achieving additional savings by allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices with manufactures; and it would also open Medicare to employers of all sizes and allow them to purchase high quality, affordable health care for their employees. NCJW supports legislative efforts that expand the Affordable Care Act and work towards universal coverage for all.

Economic Justice


It’s a digital day of action on May 8 to tell Congress #HandsOffSNAP. Though the action is all day, tweets and Facebook posts at 1pm are encouraged. Just months after giving massive tax cuts to the rich and wealthy corporations, House Republicans are preparing to take food out of the mouths of struggling workers and families by slashing more than $20 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — the nation’s largest nutrition assistance program — over the next decade. SNAP is included in the farm bill, opposed by NCJW, which is headed to a floor vote in the US House of Representatives as early as next week.

Religious Freedom

President creates new faith-base White House initiative

On May 3, the National Day of Prayer, President Trump signed an executive order creating the White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative and 13 partner offices in federal agencies. The goals of the initiative are to strengthen partnerships with faith-based organizations and inform the administration of failures to comply with religious liberty protections. The initiative is similar in structure to those created by Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, which NCJW opposed. Further, in the context of the administration’s attempts to use religious liberty to attack marginalized communities, particularly LGBTQ individuals, NCJW is deeply troubled by this executive order.


Texas challenges constitutionality of DACA

On May 1, Texas and six other states filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration challenging the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). The lawsuit follows a number of recent judgments that prevented the administration from completely ending DACA in March.

Amicus Briefs

  • NCJW signed on as an amicus curiae (friend of the court) to a brief in Matter of A-B, an asylum case concerning domestic violence that Attorney General Sessions certified to himself for review.
  • NCJW signed on as an amicus curiae (friend of the court) to a brief in Freedom from Religion Foundation v. Lehigh County, a case before the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals concerning the constitutionality of the seal of Lehigh County, which features a cross.



Related Resources