Week Ending March 19, 2021

Help is here with American Rescue Plan funding
Thank your U.S. representative by joining a town hall

  • Fund the Front Lines Updates
    • Help is Here
    • Join a Town Hall Meeting to Thank Your Representative for Supporting This Aid
  • House Action
    • House Passes the Medicare PAYGO Waiver (H.R. 1868)
    • House Passes the Violence Against Women Act (H.R. 1620)
    • House Approves Path to Citizenship for ‘Dreamers’
  • Senate Action
    • Senate Moves Forward on the For The People Act (S. 1)
  • Biden Cabinet Confirmations
    • Xavier Becerra to Lead HHS
  • New Bills
    • Wealth Tax Legislation Recently Introduced in Congress and Endorsed by AFSCME

The Congress is now in recess and will return the week of April 12. Our next Legislative Report will be on Friday, April 16.

Help is Here

As American Rescue Plan funds are distributed, we will continue to provide updates about how this aid benefits AFSCME members, including this recent update, and provide details about funding to individual states. This White House site includes comprehensive information on a wide variety of topics.

JOIN A TELE-TOWN HALL

Let’s make sure that members of Congress who answered our calls for state and local aid, direct aid, paid leave and more know that they can count on our support and public appreciation by joining local events AFSCME will be organizing soon and Zoom and tele-town hall meetings organized by outside groups.

Find a local Zoom or tele-town hall meeting here by entering your zip code. 

House Passes the Medicare PAYGO Waiver (H.R. 1868)

The House today passed the Medicare PAYGO Waiver (H.R. 1868) by a vote of 246 to 175. This bill will prevent across-the-board direct spending cuts that could be triggered by the American Rescue Plan. AFSCME supports this bill to protect Medicare.

House Passes the Violence Against Women Act (H.R. 1620)

The House passed the Violence Against Women Act (H.R. 1620) by a 244 to 172 vote. AFSCME urged members to support this bill, which reauthorizes for five years grant programs operated by the Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Health and Human Services (HHS) that are designed to prevent and respond to violent crimes. It improves collaboration among the criminal justice system, research organizations, private organizations, schools, social service agencies and public health organizations where AFSCME members serve and work.

House Approves Path to Citizenship for ‘Dreamers’

The House approved immigration legislation supported by AFSCME to create a path to citizenship for “Dreamers” (H.R. 6). The American Dream and Promise Act of 2021 takes an important step to fix our unjust immigration system and will provide permanent protections to vital members of our workforce and our communities. For more information, see the House Judiciary Committee summary here.

Senate Moves Forward on the For The People Act (S. 1)

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) introduced the For The People Act (S. 1), which passed the House earlier in March. AFSCME supports this legislation to loosen the grip that wealthy elites and corporations have on our democracy and put teeth back into the Voting Rights Act to “ensure that everyone eligible to cast a ballot can do so in the face of obstacles, intimidation or suppression tactics,” as noted by AFSCME President Lee Saunders.

Becerra to Lead HHS

Xavier Becerra was confirmed to be the Secretary of the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services (HHS) by the Senate in a vote of 50 to 49, with Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) joining all present Democratic senators. President Saunders lauded Becerra’s historic confirmation as the first Latino secretary of HHS. Praising Becerra’s record for justice, Saunders said, “[H]e will ensure that our nation’s COVID-19 response does not continue to compound existing health care inequities that disproportionately hurt people of color and weaken our communities.”

Wealth Tax Legislation Recently Introduced in Congress and Endorsed by AFSCME

AFSCME supports new legislation to impose a wealth tax on individuals with assets exceeding $50 million and to help ensure that the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes. The Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act of 2021 (S. 510, H.R. 1459), introduced by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.), would apply to only the wealthiest 75,000 households – less than .05% of Americans – and raise $3 trillion (over 10 years). This money could strengthen education, health care, and other vital public services and infrastructure.

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