An immigration overhaul coming from a bipartisan coalition within the Senate now faces three weeks of debate on the floor. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) expects that it will come to a vote prior to the July 4 session break. If all 54 Democrats in the Senate vote for the bill, which is unlikely, the "Gang of 8" putting forward the over 800-page legislation would still need the support of upwards of six Republicans to prevent a filibuster. If passed in the Senate, the immigration reform package will face an uphill battle for passage in the House.
The legislation marks the first major set of reforms to immigration policy since President Ronald Reagan's administration. It lays out a pathway to citizenship for those in the United States illegally now, tighter border security regulations, and processes to open up legal entry into the country for more families and workers. Those who oppose the bill worry that it lacks strict enough border control and grants too much amnesty to the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants currently in the US.
President Obama has urged Congress to work together to produce a bill before summer's end. He addressed the topic in his weekly radio address Saturday. "The bill before the Senate isn't perfect," he said. "It's a compromise. Nobody will get everything they want - not Democrats, not Republicans, not me."
Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) announced on "Face the Nation" Sunday, that she will back the bill, calling it "tough but fair" and "a thoughtful bipartisan solution to a tough problem." The Gang of 8 working to drive the legislation through both chambers come from a bipartisan background and are willing to make concessions only "without forsaking our principles."
Media Resources: New York Times 6/9/2013; The Daily Beast 6/10/2013; CNN 6/10/2013; CBS 6/10/2013
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
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The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .