Every other Thursday, the Equal Voice News digest, “Making It in Trump’s America: People, Policy & Poverty,” will track the latest from the Trump administration and whether its policies are creating poverty or prosperity. We’ll have reports from families and grassroots organizations working on those issues around the country. Here’s our latest:
Health Care Bill Is Moving Again. Wait, No It’s Not.
As Republican leaders in the U.S. Senate tried, and failed for now, to move their health care bill quickly, there was an outcry that people didn’t have time to review the plan.
“Health care is about caring for people: not economics, not politics,” Bev May, a KFTC member, testified. “It is so encouraging to see so many Kentuckians speaking up for our right to health care.” (Check out videos of the hearing here.)
Back in the nation’s capital, the decision to delay a vote on the Senate measure – until after the congressional break for the Fourth of July but before its August recess, The Washington Post reports – is the latest turn in the legislation’s torturous journey.
Earlier in the week, the Congressional Budget Office reported that 22 million fewer people would have health care under the measure than under the Affordable Care Act, according to The Associated Press.
Even if the effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act fails, Medicaid – a huge source of health care resources for poor families, people with disabilities, and the elderly – may not be safe this year, FamiliesUSA says in “Medicaid Support for Poor Families Threatened On Several Fronts.”
Since some senators don’t want to hear directly from U.S. citizens about the importance of affordable health care, here’s farmer Hank Adcock’s story from Alabama and his thoughts, well, as a U.S. citizen.
And millions of U.S. citizens have already been denied Medicaid access in many states in the U.S. South. Meet Gloria Owens, a U.S. citizen.
Fighting Barriers to Voting and Democracy in Texas
In Texas, it wasn’t always easy to cast a ballot in last November’s election, a new report finds. Voters ran into barriers ranging from three-hour waits to confusion over state photo identification rules, according to the analysis from the Texas Civil Rights Project.
The project reviewed more than 4,000 incidents reported during the election, analyzing what happened and what could be done. It found problems.
“Unfortunately, throughout the state, voters faced numerous obstacles that complicated the process. Through our Election Protection Coalition, we heard directly from thousands of voters about the barriers they faced in our electoral system.” Beth Stevens, the project’s Voting Rights Director, said in a summary of the report.
The project has been working with the Texas Organizing Project Education Fund and other members of the Texas Election Protection Coalition to produce the report and help to ensure that all eligible Texans can cast their ballot.
Check out the full report, including its recommendations here.
And barriers to voting? Well, stories about them are elsewhere, like in Gould, Arkansas.
Working Families Earn Help With Child Care in California.
Parents will have an easier time affording child care in California now that the governor has signed legislation that raises income limits for child care subsidies. The cap had been frozen for about 10 years. That meant that working moms and dads sometimes turned down a raise or promotion because their higher pay would have pushed them over the income limits, and they would have lost their child care support.
“Everything today costs more than it did a decade ago. I recently had to turn down a $0.50 raise because I would lose my affordable child care. I am so excited that I can get back to making progress, this is literally going to change our lives,” Krystal Johnson, a mother, said in a statement.
Grassroots advocate Parent Voices has been fighting for the change for years, and added that under the plan children also “will benefit from continuity of care for a minimum of 12 months which allows them to build strong relationships with their caregivers.”
Check out other changes at Parent Voices and one of our past stories about how working parents are standing up for quality child care.
The Battle over Texas’s New Immigration Law Keeps Heating Up.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Texas are among the latest to challenge a new Texas law that targets cities, towns and sheriffs that don’t cooperate with federal immigration enforcement as unconstitutional.
“The law, recently signed by Gov. Greg Abbott, strips localities and local law enforcement in the state of the authority to determine how to best use their limited resources to ensure the safety of their communities. The law also turns Texas into a “show me your papers” state,” the groups said in a statement.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has said SB 4 upholds the law and supports public safety, keeping dangerous criminals in jail. The measure reflects a push nationally by Republicans to engage local law enforcement in cracking down on undocumented immigrants who are also criminals.
Critics hope a U.S. judge in Texas will issue an emergency injunction to stop SB 4, which is scheduled to start in September.
The Department of Health and Human Services has restored a question on sexuality to one of its surveys, in a victory for the LGBT community, though other fights remain.
“A follow-up query seeking to gather data on transgender people remains slated for deletion. The advocacy group SAGE, which represents lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender seniors, said it would fight to restore that question as well,” the AP reports.
The LGBT community is speaking up about this issue out of fear that deleted questions would skew data about what its members are truly experiencing in the U.S.
What We’re Watching.
The PBS NewsHour checks in with the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) in a feature that shows change is possible and happening in Chicago, “Rebuilding a Chicago neighborhood by forging connections to the Muslim community.”
(Sources: Jobs With Justice digest, Associated Press, news outlets, and, of course, our neighbors. Paul Nyhan is the senior writer for Equal Voice News, which is published by Marguerite Casey Foundation. Ebony Slaughter-Johhnson, an Equal Voice News contributor, provided research assistance with this digest.)