News from NCJW Inc.
Washington Weekly E-Newsletter
November 17, 2017
Table of Contents
III. NCJW Sign-On Letters and Amicus Briefs
This week NCJW has no sign on letters.
Capitol Hill Updates
The US House of Representatives jammed their tax bill through on November 16, passing a massive tax cut plan (227-205) that would hurt middle and low income families in favor of tax cuts for the wealthiest and corporations, and add $1.5 trillion to the federal deficit. The Senate’s tax proposal — though different — is no better. It includes a repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, leaving 13 million individuals uninsured but “saving” the federal government over $300 billion to make corporate tax breaks permanent. What’s worse, it would actually raise taxes on low income individuals within a few years. And, both the House and Senate versions of tax reform include anti-abortion language that could potentially have far-reaching consequences for women’s health. The Senate is expected to vote on its plan after Thanksgiving.
On Thursday, November 16, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) announced that he will no longer honor blue slips for circuit (appeals) court nominees, thus upending 100 years of Senate tradition. On November 29, the Senate Judiciary Committee will consider two circuit court nominees who have not received the support of both of their home state senators: Kyle Duncan of Louisiana (nominated for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals) and David Stras of Minnesota (nominated for the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals). Senator Grassley did not make any exceptions to the blue slip tradition during the Obama Administration, and even used blue slips as an excuse for blocking 18 Obama nominees, including 6 to the circuit courts. Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) released a statement stating, among other things, that the “lengths to which Republicans are going to jam extremely conservative and controversial nominees through the Senate is unprecedented.” NCJW strongly opposes Duncan, Stras, and the abandonment of the blue slip tradition. Image courtesy of Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier (Iowa).
This week, the US Supreme Court agreed to hear the case of National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Xavier Becerra, which challenges the constitutionality of a California law that prohibits misleading information to be displayed and disseminated in medical clinics. Under California law, state-licensed medical clinics must inform women that they can obtain certain basic information about free and low-cost family planning, prenatal, and abortion care. Unlicensed clinics are now required to disclose to all clients that their facility is not a state-licensed medical facility. The National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, an anti-choice organization, claims that the California law violates its First Amendment right to free speech by compelling them to utter a government message. The federal district court in California and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals have both rejected this argument, and the Supreme Court will now take it under consideration. NCJW opposes any and all barriers to women’s access to reproductive health services. This case is another reminder that courts matter to reproductive health, rights, and justice.
NCJW Resources and Opportunities
Learn from an expert how the federal court system impacts our religious freedom!
The time has come! From November 1 – December 15, the health care exchange is open at HealthCare.gov. This year, due to the Trump administration’s effort to sabotage the Affordable Care Act, open enrollment is much shorter than in the past. This means we have to stay vigilant about getting our uninsured friends, family members, and community registered as soon as possible.
If you need additional resources, please email Carly at email@example.com.
Mark your calendars for the December webinar as part of NCJW’s monthly webinar series on leadership skills, Tzedek, Tzedek Tirdof: Tools for Transformation.
Our next training will be about identifying and developing leaders with special guest JOIN for Justice Senior Organizer Jeannie Appleman. This 75-minute webinar will be on Wednesday, December 13 at 1:30pmET/10:30amPT and 7:30pmET/4:30pmPT. (Note: This month will be the second Wednesday.)
The recording of the November webinar, “Engaging Activists through Relational Meetings,” will be available in next week’s Washington Weekly. Thanks to everyone who participated!
Contact Ari Conrad at firstname.lastname@example.org for further details and questions.
Check out the Advocacy Leaders Directory to connect with leaders across the country and share skills.
NCJW Sign-On Letters and Amicus Briefs
There are no sign-on letters or amicus briefs this week.
Visit bit.ly/NCJWAdvocacy for the sign-on letters and amicus briefs signed by NCJW this year.