Today’s the day – Congress will either come to an agreement on another short-term stopgap spending measure (known as a Continuing Resolution, or CR), or we’ll face a government shutdown. The House voted for a one-month bill on Thursday night; Senate action is still uncertain. Along with keeping the proverbial lights on, CHN has called upon Congress to pass a stopgap spending bill that includes several key priorities, such as renewing the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), protecting and providing a future for Dreamers, and giving much-needed aid to Puerto Rico and other areas affected by recent natural disasters. While the current CR does include six years of funding for CHIP, it does not address these other priorities, and because of this, it may not pass. Because these issues are the focus of such intense negotiations lately, we want to highlight the great work our coalition members are doing on these critical issues.
The National Immigration Law Center has been on the forefront of the fight to protect Dreamers and pass a comprehensive DACA fix like the bipartisan Dream Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for the 1.8 million immigrant youth who grew up in the U.S. Sign their petition calling on Congress to pass the Dream Act, learn more about the policy change affecting DACA renewal applications, and learn how you can join the fight for Dreamers where you live.
UnidosUS has also been a leader in the fight to protect Dreamers. UnidosUS’s President and CEO Janet Murguía recently joined House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer in a Facebook Live event to discuss the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation, and legislation to protect Dreamers. You can watch a recording of the event below. UnidosUS also has a blog post detailing what you can do to today to defend Dreamers.
First Focus has several resources on their website and their blog on why extending the Children’s Health Insurance Program is so important, including this piece on why congressional inaction on CHIP is so dangerous, a letter urging Congress to extend CHIP funding signed by more than 1,000 organizations, a petition for individuals to sign, and this piece highlighting key facts of the CHIP program.
FamiliesUSA has a great CHIP resource page that compiles a lot of pieces, including a fact sheet on why CHIP works, shareable infographics, and information on the recent score from the Congressional Budget Office showing that extending CHIP funding for 10 years would actually save $6 billion.
Tens of thousands of people in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have found themselves unemployed or unable to get to work due to Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Irma. The National Employment Law Project (NELP) created this fact sheet to help unemployed workers in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands understand and access the benefits available through Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA), jobless aid available to people who are unemployed due to natural disasters. A Spanish version of the fact sheet is available here. While the deadline for applying for DUA in the U.S. Virgin Islands has passed, the deadline for filing DUA applications for unemployment due to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico has been extended to February 9, 2018.
The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) has information on a bill introduced in Congress to help Puerto Rico deal with its debt burden and recover from the devastation of Hurricane Maria. The Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands Equitable Rebuild Act, sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and others, seeks a total of $146 billion to support the governments of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, would allocate $62 billion to help them address their fiscal challenges, as well as $27 billion for infrastructure projects and $51 billion for economic development. In addition, CHN recently joined Families USA, AFSCME, and more than 100 other organizations in urging Congress to address the ongoing healthcare crisis in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
All of these resources are great tools for advocates. If you know of a great resource others should know about too, share it in the comments section below.