With so much happening at the federal level, it can be hard to keep track of the most pressing issues. Below are several bills moving in Congress that would affect Indiana’s working families. Some could come up for votes as soon as today, so please call and write your Congressional delegation and federal officials using the guide below and ask them to stand up for working Hoosier families!
The American Health Care Act (AHCA) has a new amendment from Rep. MacArthur of the Tuesday Group – a collection of moderate Republicans – that would allow states to waive: Essential Health Benefits, which sets minimum benefits that health plans need to cover like maternity care and ER visits, and aspects of Community Rating, which ensures that insurers charge the same price in a given area regardless of gender, pre-existing conditions, and other issues. This amendment gets some Republicans closer to supporting the bill under the idea that people with pre-existing conditions would still be covered. In practicality, that may not be the case.
Actions: Call or email members of Congress and ask them not to repeal the Affordable Care Act without protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions and minimum coverage requirements including ER visits, mental health, and maternity care.
This bill rolls back or eliminates protections in Dodd-Frank and even some regulatory powers that pre-date Dodd-Frank. It diminishes the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s structure, authority, funding, and independence, limiting its power to address unfair, deceptive, and abusive acts and practices. Without rulemaking and enforcement authority, predatory financial practices and products can go unchecked, putting consumers at risk.
Groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are putting pressure on the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to revoke approval of new data collection on the Employer Information Report (EEO-1). Collecting this data by sex, race, and ethnicity will prompt employers to examine their own pay gaps and help the EEOC identify and remedy discrimination. This is an issue the NWLC has been advocating on for years.
This bill would amend the Head Start Act to replace the existing Head Start program with block grants.
"Head Start has been an effective and strong program delivering an advantage to our nation's children for more than 50 years. The current federal-to-local funding structure supports children's long-term success by giving them access to services tailored locally in order to meet the community’s needs. While we disagree that Congressman Banks' proposal would improve Head Start, we will work with him to ensure a bright future for Indiana's, and our nation's, most vulnerable children and their families." -Yasmina Vinci, Executive Director, National Head Start Associations
Actions: Call your members of Congress and ask them to support Head Start by keeping funding as is and NOT moving towards block granting this essential program that provides education and wrap-around services for families.
This bill proposes that private sector employees be allowed to select paid time off as compensation for overtime work (> 40 hours/week) instead of overtime pay. However, it does not guarantee that employees can use the time when they need it. The bill also gives the employer 30 days to pay when employees want to “cash in” their comp time, which is a long time to wait for earned pay if you make minimum wage or have a low income, and might shift the allocation of overtime work to employees who will accept comp time in lieu of overtime pay. See how this bill leaves families either worse off or no better off than they are under current law.
Actions: (1) call or email Senators and ask them not to support this bill (2) raise awareness on social media. See toolkit for talking points, a call script, an email script, and social media suggestions.
Several states have started to develop auto-IRA programs, which have the potential to cover tens of millions of workers who have little or nothing saved for retirement, and many other states are considering them. These retirement savings programs set up retirement accounts automatically, and workers can opt out at any time. These accounts are managed by the state, thus limiting the administrative costs that keep some businesses from offering retirement benefits.
Passage of HR 66 would compromise the programs that are already in the works and discourage other states from developing programs of their own. These resolutions will roll back provisions allowing states or cities to set up IRAs for people who don’t have them through their employer, which will typically be low-income workers.
H.J.Res. 67 passed in early April. It limits cities’ ability to create savings accounts for non-governmental employees.
H.J.Res. 66, a companion resolution just passed the Senate and would do the same thing to state-level efforts.
Action: Thank Senators Donnelly and Young for voting no on H.J. Res 66. Ask President Trump not to sign it.
Members of congress are attempting to use the Congressional Review Act to block commonsense protections for prepaid card users, including fee transparency and free, easy access to card balances. H.J. Res 73 - cosponsored by Rep. Rokita and Rep. Hollingsworth - and H.J. Res 62 would hurt the many consumers who use prepaid cards because they lack access to checking accounts, want to check their spending, or receive paychecks on a card.
Actions: Call your representative and ask them to vote no on H.J. Res 73 or 62. If you live in Rep Rokita or Rep Hollingsworth's districts, you could also ask them to remove their names as cosponsors.