The Week Ahead: Fight For The Greater Good
Last week Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017 which will fund the government through September 30, 2017, without a shut down. The bill was a compromise between the parties and neither side got everything they wanted. The budget did not include money earmarked for Trump’s border wall, but did include $1.5 billion for increased border security as well as another $15 billion for the military. However, it also includes an additional $5 billion for domestic spending and protects Planned Parenthood for the time being.
The GOP dominated House of Representatives passed a revised version of American Healthcare Act (ACHA) to repeal The Affordable Care Act (ACA). The list of pre-existing conditions that insurance companies would be able to charge more for includes such things as rape, C-sections and acne. Advocacy and lobby groups have already lined up in opposition including: AARP, the National Disability Rights Network, the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association and many more.
With all the pomp and circumstance surrounding the passage of the repeal bill, one might think that Trump won the Presidency all over again. But the congratulatory celebrations are only a distraction from this administration’s shortcomings and serve to overemphasize a win that is not really a win for anyone. So while Republicans were getting drunk, the Resistance was planning the revolution–scheduling die-ins and sit-ins and generally conspiring ways to bring the Republican party down. I sure hope they enjoyed those beers.
- Many are looking to the Senate to see what their response to the passage of the AHCA will be. Although the House rushed through the vote on the act without an analysis having been completed by the Congressional Budget Office, Senate rules will not allow the Senate to take up the bill without an analysis. So it could be several weeks before the Senate can consider the bill. In the meantime, 13 mostly white men will consider the fate of 24 million American’s healthcare as they evaluate and perhaps propose a new healthcare bill.
- The Senate will also hold a hearing this week to examine Russian interference in the 2016 election.
- The House is on recess again this week.
- Once again Trump has issued a divisive and likely unconstitutional executive order (EO) entitled, “Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty.” The order purports to weaken IRS rules against churches participating in political speech. Proponents also claim the EO allows exemptions from the ACA for religious organizations that refuse to provide birth control to female employees. The American Civil Liberties Union says: “Today’s executive order signing was an elaborate photo-op with no discernible policy outcome. After careful review of the order’s text we have determined that the order does not meaningfully alter the ability of religious institutions or individuals to intervene in the political process. The order portends but does not yet do harm to the provision of reproductive health services.”
- This week we may see Trump decide to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement.
Although it was a disappointing last week with the House passing Trumpcare, we must remember that this is an ongoing fight. Sunday’s presidential election in France offers hope that we can turn the tide of right-wing economic populism that has taken hold in the U.S. and Europe. Contact your Senators and tell them you oppose the repeal of the ACA. Contact your House members and tell them how disappointed you are that they voted for the repeal, or how happy you are they voted to oppose.
If the Senate passes the AHCA, it will likely be very different than that passed by the House, which will require them to meet in a conference committee. Letting your House member know that you still oppose the legislation could affect their vote on that committee and on the floor when it is returned for a vote. Don’t let your disappointment stop you from fighting for the greater good!
American Civil Liberties Union website, ACLU statement on so-called ‘religious freedom’ executive order
American Medical Association Press Release, AMA warns proposed changes to AHCA do not remedy bill’s shortcomings
Think Progress, 13 Republican men will write the Senate version of Trumpcare
Ty Starks Morgan is an attorney who has worked in the foster care system for 23 years. She is the mother of two teen sons, two dogs, three cats, and a plethora of rescued foster animals.