Here are some actions you can take this month:
Affordable Care Act
Background and Timeline
The following weeks will be critical for the ACA as the House and Senate put forth reconciliation language to repeal and/or replace significant portions of the law. Reconciliation language is expected in early March and members on both sides of the aisle are hard at work to develop replacement plans to closely follow the repeal.
It is imperative that we urge the House and Senate to protect the gains we’ve made by putting forth proposals that are comprehensive, well-vetted and comparable to the current ACA. Any bill that does not protect women and families is an unacceptable replacement. Members of Congress need to hear from their constituents about how important accessible, quality healthcare is to YWCA and its clients and constituents across the country.
- See how your Member of Congress voted on S. Con. Res. 3, the legislative vehicle to begin repeal of the ACA (House and Senate)
- Contact information for Members of Congress (House and Senate)
Protect Our Care Coalition Recess Activities
- Town Halls and Rallies in Your Community: Find out whether there are any town halls with Members of Congress scheduled near you. The Town Hall 2018 Project maintains a calendar of events throughout the country. Also, reach out to your members of Congress to see if they are holding additional events that you may attend.
- Letter to the Editor Tool: Use the Protect Our Care Coalition’s new letter to the editor tool, which helps consumers and advocates draft LTEs to their local newspaper sharing how they would be affected by repeal of the ACA.
- Tools to Amplify Your Message:
Additional Action Items
- Schedule in-district meetings. Recess is a great time to meet with your Representative and/or Senators while they are back in the district. Gather a group of colleagues and schedule to meet with your members of Congress to share your stories about why the Affordable Care Act and quality accessible health care are important to you to our communities.
- Use Twitter and Facebook. Explain why the ACA and quality, accessible healthcare are important by using Twitter and Facebook to amplify your message. Tag your members of Congress in your social media posts. Use Protect Our Care Coalition’s sample tweets and posts or the ones below!
Sample Facebook Post:
I do not support repealing the Affordable Care Act. Repealing the ACA without a viable replacement plan risks far too much for women and families across the country. Women depend on the ACA for health insurance policies that are not more expensive than those of their male counterparts, protections for birth control and maternity care, and quality health insurance coverage, regardless of preexisting conditions. [Tag Senator of choice] accessible, affordable, quality care is a necessity!
[Your legislator’s Twitter handle] Repealing the #ACA will send us back to when women pay more than men for health insurance, just because of their gender. #ProtectOurCare
[Your legislator’s Twitter handle] Repealing the #ACA could force women to pay more for less coverage. #ProtectOurCare
[Your legislator’s Twitter handle] Repealing the #ACA could roll back protections for birth control, #reprohealth, and maternity care. #ProtectOurCare
[Your legislator’s Twitter handle] Repealing the #ACA could take away health insurance from over 30 million people. #ProtectOurCare
The Family and Medical Leave Act
Background and Timeline
On February 7, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (CT) -- along with 117 House and 27 Senate original cosponsors -- reintroduced the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act in Congress. YWCA USA, along with over 50 coalition partners, has formally supported this legislation.
With increased efforts at the state level to promote paid family and medical leave, we are excited to see such strong Congressional support at the federal level. Over the coming months, YWCA USA will be working to highlight the importance of this legislation in Congress, with the hopes of garnering more cosponsors and pushing for passage of the legislation.
Urge your Senator or Representative to Cosponsor the FAMILY Act
- Write to your member of Congress and urge them to support paid leave by co -sponsoring the FAMILY Act. If they’re already a cosponsor (House and Senate), thank them for supporting paid leave!
- Schedule in-district meetings: Meet with your Representative and/or Senators while they are back in the district! Gather a group of colleagues and schedule to meet with your members of Congress to share your stories about why paid family and medical leave is important to your YWCA, its clients and the community as a whole.
Why does the United States need a federal paid family and medical leave law?
- Parents should be able to provide care to their children without worrying about losing a job or their families’ economic security.
- Some new mothers without access to paid family leave don’t receive any or adequate time to heal and recover from childbirth before they have to return to work.
- When someone is diagnosed with a serious illness or is seriously injured, his or her spouse or partner shouldn’t have to choose between keeping food on the table and providing necessary care for their loved one.
- When an elderly parent falls ill, adult children should not have to choose between meeting their own living expenses and needs or taking time away from work to help with critical care.
- When a person is diagnosed with a serious illness or has a serious accident, the last thing that person should have to worry about is rent or mortgage payments.
Is a federal paid family and leave law something workers and families in the United States actually want?
The fact that cities and states are increasingly considering and passing paid leave laws makes it clear that people are hungry for a solution to the United States’ paid leave problem. But access to paid leave shouldn’t be based on geography.
Three states already have successful paid leave programs, and, in 2016, New York state passed the strongest paid leave program to date with broad support. In 2017, Bills have bipartisan interest in a number of state legislatures.
Cities and counties across the country, including in states like Ohio, Missouri and Florida, are adopting paid leave policies for public employees to address some caregiving needs.
More than 80 percent of 2016 voters say the president and Congress should consider a paid family and medical leave law, and 78 percent – including 93 percent of Democrats, 77 percent of independents and 66 percent of Republicans – say they favor establishing a national law to provide 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave. Nearly two-thirds of all voters in 15 “battleground” states say they are willing to contribute to a paid leave fund, and both lower- and higher-wage workers are equally willing to contribute.
Use Twitter and Facebook. Explain why paid family and medical leave is important by using Twitter and Facebook to amplify your message. Tag your members of Congress in your social media posts.
Sample Facebook Post:
[Tag your legislator’s Facebook page], please support the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (FAMILY Act). This legislation is crucial to supporting and advancing the economic empowerment and security of women and families. Paid family and medical leave is policy that supports and honors hardworking women and their families.
#FAMILYAct is crucial to supporting the economic empowerment & financial security of women & families.
[Your legislator’s Twitter handle], please support American workers & co-sponsor #FAMILYAct. It’s time we have a policy that honors working families.
Why are more states passing paid family & medical leave? Because it’s the right thing to do and it’s economically smart. #FAMILYAct
We need to catch up with the rest of the industrialized world & provide #paidleave for our workers. Tell Congress to pass #FAMILYAct.
Parents shouldn’t have to choose between their jobs and their health or loved ones. Tell your rep. to support the #FAMILYAct!
The Bridge Act (Bar Removal of Individual who Dream and Grow our Economy)
YWCA USA calls for passage of broad and humane national immigration reform legislation that will provide a clear roadmap to citizenship for the 11 million aspiring Americans, including DREAMers, and makes it possible for them to fully integrate into the nation’s social and economic fabric, with all of the rights and responsibilities entailed in full integration.
We encourage support of The BRIDGE Act (Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy), bipartisan legislation which was reintroduced in January in both the U.S. Senate (S.128) and House (H.R. 496). The BRIDGE Act would protect undocumented young people brought to the United States as children should the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program be discontinued, and would provide temporary relief from deportation and work authorization to undocumented youth.
Other Recess Opportunities
United State of Women Week of Action
Join the United State of Women February 18-25 to organize in communities while members of Congress are in their local offices!
Communicate with your Senators About Their Cabinet Votes
YWCA USA and many coalition partners, advocates, allies, and citizens across the country opposed the nominations of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, and Tom Price as Secretary of Health and Human Services. While each of them has now been confirmed, it is still important for your senators to hear from you! Thank those senators who voted against these nominations and express disappointment and concern to those who voted for them. It was important for your Senators to continue to hear from you regarding your continued concerns over these officials.
Contact your Senators and express your thanks or concern based on their vote.
Recorded votes on Secretary Price’s confirmation
Attend “The Road to a Welcoming Illinois”, sponsored by Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) on Saturday, March 4th from 9:00 to Noon. Morning includes workshops, networking to build power and actions to hold elected officials accountable for making Illinois a welcoming state. Info and registration at: https://www.facebook.com/events/124087478110190/
Read "A Platform for Black Lives" A collective of more than 50 organizations representing thousands of Black people from across the country came together to articulate a common vision and agenda. We highly recommend reading the resulting document, A Platform for Black Lives. It covers demands and policy suggestions in six areas: Stop the War on Black People; Reparations; Invest-Divest; Economic Justice; Community Control; and Political Power. Take one section at a time with colleagues, neighbors or friends, to see how you can take can take action to support black lives. https://policy.m4bl.org/platform/
Test Housing Access Concerned about fair housing access? Become a fair housing “tester” for Open Communities. Information about upcoming trainings: http://open-communities.org/all-event-list/fh-test-feb23/
Attend Candidate Forums Be sure to attend Candidate Forums offered in your community, and participate in upcoming local elections. Knowing your local school, village or city issues, and acting on them, is the foundation to transforming “politics as usual”.