Week Ending October 30, 2020

Supreme Court nominee rushed through Congress, but no state and local aid

The Federal Legislative Report will return after the elections, with coverage of the lame duck session of Congress.

  • Amy Coney Barrett Confirmed
  • No Deal on State and Local Aid
  • Join Us to GOTV from Your Couch

Amy Coney Barrett Confirmed

In a 52 to 48 vote, the U.S. Senate confirmed Amy Coney Barrett for a lifetime appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court late Monday evening. Her confirmation establishes a 6-3 conservative majority on the high court.

  • Addressing Critical Needs – While millions of working people are focused on taking care of their basic needs and staying healthy in the midst of a global pandemic, it is discouraging that President Donald Trump and the GOP made it their highest priority to ram through this U.S. Supreme Court nomination instead of passing desperately needed COVID relief. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and the Senate GOP ignored the need to lessen the ongoing health and economic impacts resulting from the pandemic and forced through Barrett’s nomination ahead of the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 3 over the objection of the American people.

What You Need to Know: These are challenging times and there is so much at stake. Working families depend on the high court to make sound decisions about pay, retirement, job quality, improved working conditions and work-related benefits including health care. And, Barrett’s confirmation is an outright attack on our health care during a pandemic. She will be the deciding vote in a case that could dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on Nov. 10. If the ACA is struck down, over 20 million people would lose health coverage and millions more would lose protections for preexisting conditions.

No Deal on State and Local Aid

Congress has wrapped up its work until after the election without reaching an agreement on additional pandemic relief. Despite the repeated efforts of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), no new state and local aid will be provided until possibly sometime after the elections. Additional state and local aid is urgently needed in order to avoid public sector layoffs and cutbacks in services.

  • Heroes Act Dead in Senate – The House passed two large, comprehensive emergency relief bills, including the Heroes Act, but McConnell refused to take them up. At the same time, Pelosi was relentless in her efforts to reach an agreement with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, but came up short due to recalcitrant Senate Republicans and Trump, who repeatedly criticized relief as a blue state bailout.

What You Need to Know: The soonest any further action could take place is in a “lame duck” session of Congress that is expected to be convened after the elections. At that time, it should be clear who will be in the White House and what the composition of the new Congress will be.  

Join Us to GOTV From Your Couch!

We may not be on the doors, but the Green Machine is doing everything possible to help elect Joe Biden and flip the U.S. Senate in November. The stakes are too high for workers, our families and our AFSCME sisters and brothers to sit this one out.

  • What’s at Stake – With a pandemic raging and the economy suffering, those of us who work in public service are seeing our jobs at risk – when we are needed most. We need a president who understands our struggles and respects our work. That’s Joe Biden. As President Lee Saunders reminds us, “Everything is on the line in this election. All the values we cherish, all the things we’ve fought for, everything that matters to our families and our communities – it’s all on the ballot.” And we need a House and Senate that will pass the legislation we need and invest in our states, cities and towns – especially to provide much needed COVID aid.

How You Can Help: You can “visit” our virtual field offices here to call and text voters and to help them make a plan for voting. AFSCME is also hosting a special volunteer phone bank with the Biden campaign on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET and Sunday at 2 p.m. ET. You can sign up here for those here.

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