AP Eye on the Hill, logo against a stark, colorless photo of the capitol dome

AP(Eye) on the Hill is our biweekly 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!

Policy Recap

  • Partial government shutdown ends while border negotiations continue

  • Democrats introduce two key bills for women's economic justice

  • New York passes Reproductive Health Act and expands access to abortion

Partial government shutdown ends while border negotiations continue

Image source: Detention Watch Network
Art by: Rommy Sobrado-Torrico

Last Friday, Trump agreed to sign a short-term spending bill that would reopen the government for three weeks while Republican and Democratic leaders negotiate funding for border security. The agreement ended the longest government shutdown in US history. As negotiations are happening, Republicans remain fixed on securing a border wall, while Democrats are focusing on personnel and technology at the border without ruling out the idea of some kind of physical barrier. Meanwhile, a smaller group of progressive, women of color Democrats are calling for "not another dollar" of funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

  • Learn more about why a border wall is a bad idea and a waste of federal taxpayer dollars
     

Democrats introduce two key bills for women's economic justice

A woman holds a sign that says:

Image Source: Jobs with Justice

Earlier this month, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) reintroduced the Raise the Wage Act, which would raise the federal minimum wage to $9.25 immediately and incrementally to reach $15 by 2024, including the minimum wage for tipped workers. On Wednesday, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) reintroduced the Paycheck Fairness Act, which addresses the gender wage gap by ensuring protections against retaliation for salary negotiations, prohibits employers from screening based on salary history, and provides remedies and removes obstacles for plaintiffs when filing sex-based wage discrimination claims. The bill expands upon the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which was signed into law ten years ago. Both of these bills would address the economic inequities faced by AAPI women disproportionately represented in the low-wage workforce and the gender wage gap faced by many AAPI women.

  • Keep an eye out for this year's AAPI Equal Pay Day on March 5!
  • Read the statement that NAPAWF and hundreds of other organizations signed to support the Raise the Wage Act
  • Read our op-ed on equal pay for AAPI women, and for Southeast Asian American women specifically
  • Read our op-ed on why AAPI women belong in the fight for a $15 minimum wage
     

New York passes Reproductive Health Act and expands access to abortion

Hot pink text says

Image source: Planned Parenthood New York City Action Fund

Last week, on the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the New York state legislature passed the Reproductive Health Act (RHA), which was then signed by Governor Cuomo. The law protects the right of someone to obtain abortion care after 24 weeks of pregnancy if the health--not just the life--of the pregnant person is at risk, or if the fetus is not viable. It also decriminalizes abortion and treats it as an issue of public health by moving it from the penal code to the public health law. Although the bill has been introduced every session for multiple years, the recent switch to a Democratic majority in the New York State Senate enabled the passage of the bill.

AP Eye On the Courts Logo, against a stark image of the Supreme Court Building


Confirmation Hearing for Judicial Nominee Rao and Senate Judiciary Committee vote on Attorney General Nominee Barr

We are strongly opposing the confirmation of Neomi Rao to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Rao has made harmful and disparaging statements about communities of color, women, LGBTQ people, and sexual violence. Rao's hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee is set for Tuesday, February 5.

We sent out a letter of opposition to the confirmation of William Barr[a] to serve as Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice. Barr's record establishes his hostility towards reproductive rights, immigrant rights, LGBTQ rights, and criminal justice reform, among others. The duty of the Attorney General is to safeguard and enforce the civil rights laws of the United States. Barr's record on these issues demonstrates his inability to perform the duties of the office. Barr's nomination is currently pending a vote before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, February 7.

Appeals Court Considering South Carolina's Disqualification of Planned Parenthood from Medicaid

The federal appeals court for the Fourth Circuit is currently considering a case challenging the state of South Carolina's attempt to disqualify Planned Parenthood as a Medicaid provider. Last week, NAPAWF, along with the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, In Our Own Voice: Black Women's Reproductive Justice Agenda, and the Center for Reproductive Rights, filed an amicus brief in support of Planned Parenthood, in which we explain the harm to women of color that would result from South Carolina's actions, the particular importance of the right to choose one's medical provider for women of color, and the vital importance of the "private right of action" enforcement mechanism for Medicaid beneficiaries.

Other Legal News

  • Check out our op-ed in Rewire on the Trump Administration's new rules regarding birth control coverage, which would vastly expand the number of employers allowed exemptions from covering birth control for their employees, and the harmful impact these rules would have on AAPI women if they go into effect.
  • Stay vigilant and up to date on legal news by following our new legal blog, AP(Eye) on the Courts!
     

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