Policy Updates

On the Hill Updates: November 20, 2020

Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice

House committee to consider impact of abortion coverage restrictions

On December 8, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies will hold a virtual hearing on “The Impact on Women Seeking an Abortion but are Denied Because of an Inability to Pay.” The hearing, which you can watch here beginning at 10:00 am ET, will investigate the effects of coverage bans like the Hyde Amendment, which has long blocked those enrolled in federal health programs from using their insurance to pay for abortion care. This policy disproportionately impacts Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities and is a painful example of how systemic racism permeates our federal laws and regulations. NCJW calls on Congress to pass the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act (HR 1692/S 758) to permanently end Hyde and related restrictions and to prohibit political interference in private insurance coverage of abortion at all levels of government.

Federal Courts

Senate Judiciary Committee speeds through nominees

Rather than working on a COVID relief package, the Senate is prioritizing confirming federal judges at a steady clip. On November 18, the Senate confirmed five nominees, including Kathryn Kimball Mizelle to the US District Court for the Middle District of Florida (49-41) and Toby Crouse to the United States District Court for the District of Kansas (50-43). NCJW opposed both nominees. Kathryn Mizelle graduated from law school only eight years ago, spent four years clerking, and has experience in only two trial cases — neither at the senior level. The American Bar Association found Mizelle “Not Qualified” for a lifetime appointment, directly citing her lack of meaningful experience. Toby Crouse urged the Supreme Court to review a case defunding Planned Parenthood, defended the infamous Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach in a case challenging his redistricting plan, and supported other restrictive voting laws as Kansas Solicitor General. Mizelle and Crouse will make it harder for everyday Americans to receive justice through their courts.

Human Needs

Annual spending battles begin

It appears the president supports a spending bill, and with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on board, it’s possible we could see a deal before the government shuts down at midnight on December 11. Both Pelosi and McConnell are in agreement on a 12-bill omnibus spending package, though how they will get there is anyone’s guess. Border wall and COVID relief funding are sure to be sticking points. NCJW supports a federal budget that prioritizes COVID relief and fully funds human needs programs.


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