Weekly Washington Outlook– Sept. 30, 2013

U.S. Capitol

What to Watch This Week:


The House:

The House has not released a weekly schedule given the likelihood of a federal government shutdown at midnight this evening.  Today, however, the House will consider two bills under suspension of the rules.  Pending Senate action, it is possible the House will consider additional amendments to the spending resolution it passed over the weekend.

The Senate:

The Senate this afternoon convenes to take up the H.J.Res. 59, amended over the weekend by the House.  The Senate will also vote to confirm two judicial nominations.

White House:

On Monday, the President will host Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House.  The two leaders will discuss progress on final status negotiations with the Palestinians, as well as developments in Iran, Syria, and elsewhere in the region.  On Tuesday, the President will attend unspecified meetings in the White House.  On Wednesday, the President will deliver remarks at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s 36th Annual Awards Gala at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The First Lady will also attend.  On Thursday and Friday the President will again attend unspecified meetings in the White House before leaving on a trip to Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines on SaturdayContinue reading

This Week in Immigration Reform – Week Ending September 27

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Week Ending September 27

This week in immigration reform: House leadership of both parties remain committed to working on immigration reform legislation this fall; and NCLR and its Affiliates gather signatures for petitions at Hispanic Heritage Month event and meet with members of Congress, local elected officials, and law enforcement to push the House to act on reform.  NCLR staff kept the community informed as always this week, with staff quoted in stories in MSNBC, La Opinión, and Latinos Post.

  • House developments on immigration reform come from both sides of the aisle.   At the end of last week, Representatives Luis Gutierrez (D-IL-4), Sam Johnson, (R-TX-3) and John Carter (R-TX-31) issued statements that their bipartisan working group was not moving forward with introducing immigration reform legislation.  While Reps. Carter and Johnson stated that they could not move forward because of mistrust of President Obama, Rep. Gutierrez said that the group did not have the support of House Republican leadership.

Despite Congress continuing to come up short in its attempts to fund the federal government, House leadership on both sides of the aisle continues to signal it could consider immigration reform legislation this fall.

At a Hispanic Heritage Month event, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA-6), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said this week that he wants the House to begin working on immigration reform bills in October.  It is reported that Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH-8) has echoed Goodlatte in private conversations, saying that immigration reform is still on the fall agenda.

Across the aisle, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12) is reported to have plans to introduce immigration reform legislation as early as October 5.

  • October 5th events lined up across the country to keep the pressure on Congress.  NCLR is proud to be a national organization endorsing the October 5th National Day of Dignity and Respect for immigration reform.  We know that some Affiliates are planning to participate in events that are already planned, and it is not too late to organize and register an event.  For more information and materials for local events, as well as other ways to support the events, please visit www.octoberimmigration.org.
  • NCLR Alma Awards to survey issues affecting the Latino community.  The 2013 NCLR ALMA Awards – broadcast live on MSNBC Friday, Sept. 27 at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT – will feature a one-hour news special on issues affecting the Latino community at 11 p.m. ET / 8 p.m. PT, hosted by MSNBC’s Alex Wagner with NCLR President & CEO Janet Murguía as well as Maria Teresa Kumar.  Tune in to get the latest updates on issues that you care about, including news on immigration reform.
  • NCLR and Affiliates in action.

Arizona:  The NCLR Action Fund met with Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ-9) on Sept. 19 to thank her for her support of immigration reform.

Florida:  The NCLR Action Fund has kept busy in Florida, meeting with staff of Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL-15) on Sept. 19 to urge the Congressman to tell Speaker Boehner that immigration reform deserves a vote.  At the meeting, the Action Fund delivered a letter from Lakeland, FL Mayor Gow B. Fields to Rep. Ross.  In the letter Mayor Fields urged Rep. Ross to work for reform in Congress.
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Nancy Palacio of PICO, Blaine Gravitt of Rep. Ross’ office, Carmen Balasquide of the NCLR Action Fund, and Danny Barajas of Young American Dreamers at the 9/19 meeting on immigration reform.

Finally, the Action Fund met with Lakeland, FL’s Chief of Police Lisa Womack on Sept. 20 to discuss the urgent need for immigration reform.

Pennsylvania: NCLR Affiliate Concilio (The Council of Spanish Speaking Organizations, Inc.) took advantage of the crowd attending its Hispanic Heritage Month celebration in Philadelphia this week by gathering signatures for a petition calling on Pennsylvania members of Congress to pass immigration reform legislation.

immigration update 92713 photo 2Volunteers gathering signatures for an immigration reform petition at NCLR Affiliate Concilio’s Hispanic Heritage month event in Philadelphia, PA.

If your organization is planning an event for Hispanic Heritage Month, consider having participants sign a petition to your congressional delegation in support of immigration reform.  Please contact John Herrick at 202.776.1735 or at jherrick@nclr.org for more information.

NCLR Affiliates:  To share your recent meetings on immigration with your members of Congress, please fill out the report-back form on our website.

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Florida Moves to Limit Access to Health Care

HealthCare_basicrightHispanic Heritage Month is now in full swing.  Latinos throughout the country have gathered to celebrate our culture and our community with festivals, awards shows, groundbreaking documentaries, and national convenings of some of our best nonprofits.  During this time, however, it’s equally important to highlight the challenges that lay before us.  One such challenge is ensuring access to the new health care law, the Affordable Care Act.

In one state, Florida, key decision-makers have done their best to keep residents from enrolling in the health care exchanges, which under the law will open October 1.  In an especially outrageous move, the governor, Rick Scott, has barred county health departments across the state from helping outreach workers provide accurate information about the law.  In a state whose uninsured population ranks number two nationwide, and where one in three Hispanics lacks health coverage, it is downright harmful to the general welfare of the people.  Continue reading