Bashana haba’ah, In the New Year to Come
As we close the book on 2013 and turn to welcome a new year, the 2013-2014 Eisendrath Legislative Assistants are wrapping up their first four months at the Religious Action Center, filled with challenges, successes, new adventures, numerous trips to Starbucks and a lot of fun! Looking towards the next weeks and months, a new year, the LA’s compiled a “wish-list” for what they hope our nation can achieve. Stay tuned for part 2 tomorrow.
In 2014, it is my wish that all women around the world can access a safe, legal, and affordable abortion if they so chose–we must repeal the Hyde Amendment, bans on abortion after arbitrary periods in gestation, restrictive parental notification laws and all other laws on waiting periods and preliminary steps before an abortion (even if they aren’t cost-prohibitive, are certainly time-prohibitive.) In practice, these laws disproportionately affect low-income women who cannot afford the procedure, nor take time off of work. Reproductive freedom is not only a “woman’s issue, ”but rather it is an “everyone issue”–decisions around family planning are about families, a woman’s self-determination and her equality.
My legislative work also includes working to end the United States’ practice of indefinite detention. I wish Congress to write and pass comprehensive, realistic and impactful legislation that will once again reinforce our commitment to habeas corpus rights and the right to a fair trial in United States federal court.
Many of the issues I hope Congress addresses are not partisan ones, but common-sense issues with bipartisan solutions. For example, Congress should pass comprehensive immigration reform that reflects our nation’s immigrant history and honors our values. Such a bill would address our broken immigration system and put the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the shadows of society on a pathway to citizenship. I also hope that, whatever their views of the Affordable Care Act, members of Congress in both parties work to make the law work, and to expand healthcare access to as many Americans as possible. Lastly, I am optimistic that Congress will tackle some of the modern civil rights challenges of our time, by passing a bill that would fix the Voting Rights Act, and addressing the scourge of mandatory minimum sentencing.
I hope to see the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act move in Congress. This piece of legislation, is currently the only major legislative action addressing our nations’ energy use and unequivocal impact on climate change while also creating jobs and boosting the economy. And in the fight for LGBT equality, I hope 2014 will be the year the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is brought to a vote in the House. It is hard believe that in the year of 2014, 20 years after ENDA was introduced, it remains legal to discriminate against LGBT people in the workplace. Let’s turn the tide.
Stay tuned for Howie and Deborah’s wish-list tomorrow!