Capitol to Capitol | Feb. 22, 2021

2/22/2021

U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 Introduced in the House and Senate

Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Representative Linda S├ínchez (D-Calif.) unveiled the president’s immigration reform bill last Thursday. The bill features an eight-year path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. as of Jan. 1.  It would apply to an estimated 11 million people, allowing them to live and work in the U.S. for five years following background checks and tax payments. Eligible applicants could seek a green card at that point that would provide them permanent status and the ability to apply for citizenship three years later. The bill also removes family-based immigration restrictions, expands worker visas, increases funding to state and local governments for immigrant integration activities, and increases and strengthens border security technology. Read more.

NCSL Contacts:Lucia Bragg and Susan Frederick

House to vote on COVID Relief and Reconciliation Package

The House is aiming to vote later this week on President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan after a flurry of committee activity two weeks ago. Both the House and Senate were out of session last week. The proposal, which currently contains $350 billion in state and local aid, contains provisions that are expected to be amended, including a requirement to raise the federal minimum wage to $15. Democrats are keen to enact legislation before benefits from the last round of pandemic relief expire March 14. Key provisions of the $1.9 trillion reconciliation bill include: sending $1,400 in direct payments to individuals and dependents; extending pandemic unemployment programs; expanding tax credits for families and for employers who offer paid leave; providing funds for testing and vaccine distribution, schools, mass transit systems, restaurants and other small businesses, child care, housing and nutrition; expanding subsidies to purchase health insurance under the Affordable Care Act for two years; and temporarily increasing Medicaid funding to states that expand their programs. The Congressional Budget Office released cost estimates on the bills reported out of committee. Read more.

NCSL Contacts: Erlinda Doherty and Jocelyn Salguero

CDC Hosts Vaccine Forum

The agency is holding town halls aiming to build trust and confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine. The forums will be led by CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, White House health advisers and Federal Emergency Management Agency officials. In a survey the CDC conducted last year only half of U.S. adults said they were certain or very likely to get the vaccine. The CDC surveyed 5,500 people in the U.S. between September and December, with a greater number of people saying they will get vaccinated in December. Read more.

NCSL Contacts: Haley Nicholson and Margaret Wile

In Every Edition

Read the Feb. 15 Capitol to Capitol.

NCSL's Advocacy in Washington

NCSL’s Washington staff advocates on behalf of state legislatures before Congress, the White House and federal agencies in accord with the policy directives and resolutions that are recommended by the NCSL Standing Committees and adopted by the full conference at the annual NCSL Legislative Summit Business Meeting. As a result of the advocacy that is guided by these policies’ positions, NCSL is recognized as a formidable lobbying force in state-federal relations.

NCSL Staff in Washington, D.C.

  • Molly Ramsdell | 202-624-3584 | Director
  • Erlinda Doherty | 202-624-8698 | Budgets and Revenue
  • Susan Frederick | 202-624-3566 | Law, Criminal Justice, and Public Safety
  • Abbie Gruwell 202-624-3569 | Commerce and Financial Services
  • Ben Husch | 202-624-7779 | Natural Resources and Infrastructure 
  • Jon Jukuri  | 202-624-8663 | Labor, Economic Development and International Trade
  • Haley Nicholson | 202-624-8662 | Health
  • Margaret Wile | 202-624-8171 | Human Services
  • Austin Reid | 202-624-8678 | Education