The Saturday Memo for March 13, 2021
Writer: Collyn Mosquito, Editor of The Briefing
It has been quite a week for Democrats in Washington. Hoping to prove that they can govern better than when Republicans were in control, they passed a sixth COVID-19 relief package with no Republican support and quickly moved to long-time Democratic priorities like, gun control. As always, find out what happened this week here at The Briefing!
Directs Federal agencies to find ways their agencies can expand voter registration and participation by looking at ways to provide relevant information, direct links on agency websites to state voter registration websites, ways to provide voter registration services and vote-by-mail voter applications, ways to promote and provide multilingual voter registration and election information, and whether any identity documents issued by a federal agency can be issued in a way to conform with state voter identification laws.
Executive Order on Guaranteeing an Educational Environment Free from Discrimination on the Basis of Sex, Including Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity — 3/8/2021
This order directs the Secretary of Education, in 100 days, to review all existing regulations, orders, guidance documents, policies, and any other agency actions that are inconsistent to the policies laid out by this order and discriminate on the basis of sex and sexual identity or gender identity. At the end of the 100 days, the Secretary is directed to implement any policies promulgated by the review.
The White House Gender Policy Council formed by President Biden, is a council that will coordinate the Federal Government’s efforts to advance gender equity and equality across every agency and institution, and even among states, nonprofits, and other sectors.
President Biden held a virtual summit with the leaders of Australia, Japan, and India to discuss the formation of a “Quad” vaccine partnership to speed up the production and distribution of vaccines for Indo-Pacific countries. It will provide ways to use facilities to speed up manufacturing while not donating any of the vaccines contractually promised to the Quad countries, thus protecting each leader politically in their home countries as vaccine distribution and administration speeds up.
H. RES 188: Providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 842) to amend the National Labor Relations Act, the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947, and the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, and for other purposes; providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 8) to require a background check for every firearm sale; providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 1446) to mend chapter 44 of title 18, United States Code, to strengthen the background check procedures to be followed before a Federal firearms licensee may transfer a firearm to a person who not such a licensee; and for other purposes — 3/8/2021
As you can probably guess by the really long bill title, the House this week passed this bill along party lines that will allow introduction and debate of two background check bills that strengthens background check requirements for firearm sales and ownership. It is an attempt by Democrats to use this time before 2022, to pass long-standing priorities, like strengthening firearm background check requirements, by claiming it is much-needed in light of the many school shootings over the past decade or so. Republicans are claiming this bill infringes on the Second Amendment right to bear arms.
- Bill Sponsor(s): Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA-11)
- Bills it impacts:
- H.R. 8: Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021
- H.R. 1446: Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021
This bill strengthens various labor protections related to employees’ rights to organize and collectively bargain in the workplace by revising the definitions for employee, employer, and supervisor, permits labor organizations to encourage workers to strike, and prohibits employers from filing a claim against a union encouraging and organizing such protests. It also permits labor organizations to collect fees from employees through collective bargaining agreements, makes it an unfair practice for employers to require employees to attend meetings that discourage organizing, and addresses procedures related to union representation elections and other provisions.
- Bill Sponsor(s): Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA-3)
In an effort to expand vaccine access from VA health facilities, individuals that will be able to receive a vaccine from these facilities are:
- veterans that are not eligible to receive healthcare from VA facilities;
- specified veterans who are eligible for hospital care, medical services, and nursing home care abroad;
- family caregivers of veterans participating in the VA’s Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers;
- caregivers of veterans participating in the VA’s Program of General Caregiver Support Services; and
- caregivers of veterans participating in the VA’s Medical Foster Home Program, Bowel and Bladder Program, Home Based Primary Care Program, or Veteran Directed Care Program.
- Bill Sponsor(s): Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA-41)
This research endowment fund was set up as a way to fund minority health disparities research and other health disparities research as well. This bill simply allocates more Federal appropriations to revitalize the fund so this kind of research can continue.
Per the SCOTUS Blog: Issues: (1) Whether entities that are not subject to the public-charge ground of inadmissibility contained in Immigration and Nationality Act, and which seek to expand benefits usage by aliens who are potentially subject to that provision, are proper parties to challenge the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s final rule interpreting the statutory term “public charge” and establishing a framework by which DHS personnel are to assess whether an alien is likely to become a public charge; and (2) whether the final rule is likely contrary to law or arbitrary and capricious.
Per the SCOTUS Blog:
Holding: A nonpermanent resident seeking to cancel a lawful removal order fails to carry his burden of showing that he has not been convicted of a disqualifying offense when the statutory conviction on his record is ambiguous regarding whether a disqualifying offense formed the basis of his conviction.
Judgment: Affirmed, 5–3, in an opinion by Justice Gorsuch on March 4, 2021. Justice Breyer filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justices Sotomayor and Kagan joined. Justice Barrett took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.
American Medical Association v. Cochran; Cochran v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore; and Oregon v. Cochran — Status: Biden Administration and Parties Seeking Dismissal — 3/13/2021
All three cases challenged Trump administration rules that barred clinics that claim federal family planning funds from providing abortions. The Biden Administration and all parties involved are seeking the dismissal of these cases, especially as the current administration is reviewing whether to change these rules.