- - -  THIS WEEK: OCTOBER 13, 2017  - - -

Legislative Updates


Appropriations for Disaster Relief: On Thursday the House voted 353-69 to approve an additional $36.5 billion in aid for areas affected by recent hurricanes and wildfires, including California, Texas, and Puerto Rico. The aid package includes over $18 billion in additional funding for FEMA, and $16 billion for the federal flood insurance program. This is the second disaster aid package passed in five weeks.

Protections from Government Surveillance: House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Goodlatte (R-VA-9) has introduced the USA Liberty Act, H.R. 3989, which reauthorizes the ability of law enforcement agencies to access U.S. citizen communications with foreign nationals. The bill reforms existing law by requiring a court order before agencies can examine records for domestic investigations, and requires additional reporting on the collection and use of U.S. citizen communications. Civil liberties advocates remain concerned that these powers may be used as a “back-door” to target U.S. citizens in investigations unrelated to terrorism.

03.pngReforming ACA Health Coverage Requirements: Rep. Renacci (R-OH-16) recently introduced H.R. 3956, the Simplifying Technical Aspects Regarding Seasonality (STARS) Act of 2017. The Affordable Care Act requires employers with 50 or more full-time employees to provide them with health coverage. This bill would exclude seasonal workers from being counted as full-time employees for this requirement in order to provide more flexibility for businesses. Seasonal workers are defined as those whose positions last six months or less during specific times of the year.
04.pngDemanding Oversight from Justice Act: H.R. 3799, filed by Rep. Waters (D-CA-43), would require the Department of Justice to pursue civil action against police departments found to have abusive practices in order to enforce reforms. Current law gives the DOJ the power to pursue civil action in these cases at its own discretion.

Hill Events

Domestic Human Needs Hill Day

On Wednesday Poligon joined other faith-based organizations, including the Friends Committee on National Legislation, Bread for the World, and the Religious Action Center, for an Interreligious Working Group on Domestic Human Needs (DHN) advocacy day on Capitol Hill. We met with Senate staffers including those working for Sen. Rubio (R-FL), Sen. Wyden (D-OR), and Sen. Capito (R-WV) to discuss how Congress’ next budget can address economic inequality and preserve programs that lift Americans out of poverty.

Further Reading

Hill Buzz

On Disaster Relief:

“This package provides critical public and individual disaster assistance, flood insurance aid, liquidity for Puerto Rico’s government, and help for communities devastated by wildfires.” - Rep. Lowey (D-NY-17)

On the USA Liberty Act:

“I think there’s still a lot of unanswered questions with regards to Fourth Amendment [civil liberties and privacy] protections.” - Rep. Meadows (R-NC-11)

“We ought to look more to excluding the use of the contents in non-national security cases, rather than preventing the searches from taking place.” - Rep. Schiff (D-CA-28)

On the STARS Act:

“Our small businesses, especially the agriculture sector, depend on seasonal help...This bipartisan legislation cuts through this murky law that ensures small businesses are not negatively impacted or penalized because of confusing rules.” - Rep. Jenkins (R-KS-2)

On the Demanding Oversight from Justice Act:

“We’re trying to push back and fight against a man who comes to this very important office of attorney general...with a background against all of the progressive laws that have been put in place, in order to deal with police departments.” - Rep. Waters (D-CA-43)

Poligon Education Fund is working tirelessly to 1) monitor and hold accountable all Congressional action taken on issues that deeply impact the lives of everyday American Muslims and 2) educate American Muslims on effective advocacy and Congressional engagement. Only a few months since our launch, we have jumped headfirst into this crucial work, which we can only hope to continue with your generous support. Please take time to make a contribution.

Poligon Education Fund is a 501c3 non-profit charitable organization dedicated to amplifying the Muslim American voice in Congress.
Copyright © 2017 Poligon Education Fund, All rights reserved.

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