Week Ending July 20, 2018

Senate gears up for action on Kavanaugh Nomination to the Supreme Court.

  • Supreme Court Nominee –Wrong Choice for Working Families
  • House Republicans Will Soon Release Their Tax Cuts Package, Round 2
  • Senators Seek to Protect Individuals with Pre-Existing Conditions
  • Senate Passes Delay of Home Care Electronic Visit Verification

Supreme Court Nominee – Wrong Choice for Working Families

The Senate has begun the process of reviewing Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the president’s nominee for the open Supreme Court seat. We deserve a Supreme Court that protects the rights of all Americans – not just the wealthy and powerful – and that holds the president and Congress accountable. That’s the opposite of Kavanaugh. But GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is using his power to grease the skids, even keeping the Senate in session during the August recess to try to force action. The Senate Judiciary Committee could hold a hearing and vote on his nomination in August followed by a possible Senate vote in September.

What You Need to Know:  In the wake of the Janus decision, Kavanaugh would tip the scales of the court even further in favor of a handful of wealthy special interests and against working people for decades to come. In fact, he was hand-picked off a list provided to the president by an outside group of special interests backed by dark money and corporate powers. Kavanaugh would further the attacks and harm this Congress and this president are inflicting on working families to take away health care, strip worker protections, scapegoat and detain immigrants, rig our elections and  strip even more power from labor unions and prevent them from fairly representing workers.

Click here to email your senators and oppose his nomination.

House Republicans Release Their Tax Cuts Package Round 2

House GOP leaders are releasing their second round of tax cuts, which are are once again expected to disproportionately benefit the wealthiest 1 percent and cost nearly $1 trillion over 10 years. Moreover, conservative members of Congress typically use the reduced revenue as an added excuse to try to cut Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, education and other vital public services. 

Most families have noticed no meaningful benefits from the first round of these tax giveaways, which disproportionately benefit large profitable corporations and the wealthiest taxpayers. Given that President Donald Trump promised in 2017 that enacting the first tax package would lead employers to raise workers’ pay by $4,000, AFSCME members have been asking, “Where is my $4,000 raise?” Other workers are concerned that companies like Apple got billions of dollars of tax breaks and invested almost nothing in their workers, and that firms like Harley Davidson got tax breaks and then laid off workers and sent their manufacturing jobs overseas.

What You Need to Know:  House Republican leaders also scheduled a floor vote to repeal a tax on importers and manufacturers of medical devices, which receive tax breaks exceeding $20 billion. AFSCME opposes these troubling tax giveaways because these firms already received a large tax break in the December 2017 Trump-Republican tax cut package and it appears these firms did not invest these tax savings back into their workplaces or operations. Second, many firms already earn large profits and, to succeed, they do not need further tax breaks. Health experts know that these government funds would be better invested to improve health outcomes for working families and those with chronic health problems. Rather than granting tax breaks to these firms and their wealthy shareholders, Republican congressional leaders should strengthen America’s health care system and provide access to affordable, effective, evidence-based treatment and prevention. 

Senators Seek to Protect Individuals with Pre-Existing Conditions 

All 49 Democratic senators, led by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), introduced a resolution (S. Res. 851) to authorize the Senate Legal Counsel to get involved in the ongoing litigation of Texas v. United States and defend the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions. In that case, Trump’s Department of Justice (DOJ) refuses to defend the ACA and argues that the ACA provision guaranteeing insurance regardless of an individual’s pre-existing conditions was unconstitutional. The Trump DOJ also argues that the ACA prohibition against discriminatory premium rates based on health status was unconstitutional. The refusal to defend the ACA is another Trump action to sabotage the health law that millions of Americans depend upon. It fuels uncertainty for insurers across the nation, which will lead to hikes in health care premiums and out-of-pocket costs.

What You Need to Know:  If the Trump DOJ prevails, roughly 130 million people 64 years of age and under could lose their health care or see premium hikes because they have pre-existing conditions. The outcome of this case is likely to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, making the Senate’s deliberations on Kavanaugh to be a Supreme Court Justice of high import to the health security of millions of working families.

Senate Passes Delay of Home Care Electronic Visit Verification 

By unanimous consent, the Senate passed an identical version of a House-passed bill to delay a requirement that the Medicaid program must have an electronic visit verification system for home care workers. 

What You Need to Know:  AFSCME supports this much needed one-year pause to implement a cumbersome system by January 2019. This delay will give Congress time to remedy privacy considerations and the rigidity of the current details required of an electronic visit verification system. The president is expected to sign the bill into law.

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