Published: March 17, 2017
AP(Eye) on the Hill is our weekly highlight of significant federal updates, particularly those that impact AAPI communities regarding reproductive, immigration, and economic justice. Learn about NAPAWF’s and other national AAPI groups’ federal policy work while you’re out on the ground!
- White House releases budget proposal with major cuts to social & human services and increased spending on “building the wall”
- Federal judge rules “Muslim Ban 2.0” unconstitutional
- Groups across the country organize for National Day of Action for Trans Women of Color
- The Healthy Families Act is reintroduced to both House and Senate
- Reproductive justice organizations are against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Gorsuch
- 24 million could lose coverage to the Republican repeal bill
- Rep. Steve King (R-IA) tweets about White Supremacy, AAPI members of Congress respond
White House releases budget proposal with major cuts to social & human services and increased spending on “building the wall”
On Thursday, March 16th, the White House released their initial projections for their 2018 budget proposal, outlining discretionary spending (over a quarter of the federal budget). The Trump administration is calling for an increase in defense spending by $54 billion, including a request for an additional $3 billion to help secure the “border wall” that Trump threatened under his Presidential campaign.
- In order to accommodate the increase in spending, the administration plans making dramatic cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, State Department, Labor Department, Department of Health and Human Services, Education Department, among others.
- The cuts would eliminate 19 entire agencies, including the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, U.S. Institute for Peace, Institute for Museum and Library Services, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and corporation for National and Community Service.
- Organizations and individuals took to social media to speak out against the budget, using hashtags #FundFamiliesNotWalls and #FundBridgesNotWalls.
- Read a few AAPI organizational statements on the White House budget:
Federal judge rules “Muslim Ban 2.0” unconstitutional
On Thursday, March 16th, the Trump Administration’s second attempt at banning immigrants from Muslim-majority nations was scheduled to go into effect; however, before the ban was implemented a federal judge in Hawaii posed a temporary halt to the order followed by a federal judge in Maryland who issued a preliminary injunction. Hawaii Judge Derrick Watson in found that a “reasonable, objective observer” would deem the executive order as targeting Muslim Americans and Maryland Judge Chuang affirmed that decision.
- Read our Interim Executive Director, Sung Yeon Choimorrow’s response to Muslim Ban 2.0
- Read President Trump’s executive orders and the related memos here.
- AAPI organizations applauded the decision:
- SAALT: “SAALT Applauds Blocking of Muslim Ban 2.0, a Stimulus Package for Hate”
- National Immigration Law Center: “Suing Groups Respond to Trump Administration Appeal of Maryland Court’s Block on Muslim Ban”
- National Asian Pacific American Bar Association: “NAPABA Files Amicus Brief Supporting the First Legal Challenge to President’s Revised Muslim and Refugee Ban”
- National Asian Pacific American Bar Association: “NAPABA Applauds Restraining Order Against President’s Revised Muslim and Refugee Ban”
Groups across the country organize for National Day of Action for Trans Women of Color
Led by Get Equal, Wednesday, March 15th groups across the country and in the Capitol observed National Day of Action for Trans Women of Color. The call to action was organized in response to the disproportionate violence trans women of color experience, and the increased urgency in resistance and solidarity in the current “transphobic, racist, anti-woman, anti-femme” political and social environment. As part of the day of action, activists went to D.C. City Hall to demand accessible housing for transgender communities.
- Read the Get Equal solidarity statement here and organizing digital toolbox here.
- Learn more about the “Protect Trans Women” observance in D.C. and local groups participating in the call of action here.
- Check out the #ProtectTransWomen Twitter Storm recap. Senator Kamala Harris, the first Indian American and biracial woman elected to U.S. Senate, joined in on the conversation.
The Healthy Families Act is reintroduced to both House and Senate
On March 15th, Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) reintroduced the Healthy Families Act, legislation that would allow workers to earn paid sick leave to use when they are sick, to care for a loved one, to obtain preventative care, or to address the impacts of domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault.
- Read NAPAWF’s press statement about how the Healthy Families Act supports AAPI women workers, families, and communities.
Reproductive justice organizations are against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Gorsuch
Plans continue for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearing early next week amid growing dissent and opposition. During the Senate hearing on Monday, Gorsuch will have to face questions regarding his record on reproductive, labor, immigrant, and religious civil issues and his fitness to be a fair, impartial Supreme Court Justice. Reproductive rights organizations have continued to be vocal opponents to the nomination, along with AAPI and immigrant rights groups.
- Led by reproductive justice national organizations, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, and National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) delivered a letter to Senate committee members opposing the nomination, cosigned by an additional 43 reproductive justice organizations from across the country.
- Read the joint press release from NAPAWF, NLIRH, and In Our Own Voice
- NAPAWF also signed onto an additional letter from reproductive rights groups more broadly, opposing Gorsuch’s bias regarding reproductive rights and access.
- Read Op-ed in San Francisco Chronicle about leukemia patient, Grace Hwang, who Judge Gorsuch ruled against in a labor dispute: “Judge Gorsuch failed our family”
24 million could lose coverage to the Republican repeal bill
On Monday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released their analysis of the Republican repeal bill that would rollback key aspects of the Affordable Care Act. The initial report estimated that Medicaid cuts alone would cost 14 million people to lose their insurance after one year and 24 million by 2020. The Budget Committee voted 19-17 to advance the bill, which will next go to the Rules Committee for consideration.
- Read Interim Executive Director Sung Yeon Choimorrow’s piece about ACA repeal and its impact on AAPI maternal health care: “As A Korean-American Mother — I Resist Republican Attempts To Rollback Maternity Care”
- Read NAPAWF press statement about the repeal bill here.
- Check out the Asian and Pacific Islander Health Forum (APIAHF) response to the CBO announcement: “ACA Repeal Bill Will Leave AAs and NHPIs Worse Off”
Keep an AP(eye) out for…
- The confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch is currently scheduled for March 20 before the Senate Judiciary committee. The 10thS. Circuit Court of Appeals will question the nominee on March 21.
- The AHCA Republican repeal bill is scheduled to go to the Rules Committee early next week, and a House of Representative floor vote could happen as early as next week.