As President Donald Trump prepares to make his first address to a Joint Session of Congress on Tuesday, some Illinois Democrats are inviting guests to highlight their opposition to his agenda.
In his first month in office, Trump has faced constant scrutiny, coming under fire for his divisive executive orders on travel and deportation. In addition, the billionaire has drawn heat for supporting the GOP plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, as well as his team’s reported communications with Russian officials.
Trump is expected to highlight first budget proposal Tuesday, which includes $54 billion in added defense and security spending alongside cuts to other federal agencies, according to NBC News.
Here’s a list of Illinois Democrats looking to send a message to Trump at Tuesday’s Joint Session of Congress:
Sen. Dick Durbin
Durbin will host Illinois DREAMer Aaima Sayed, who has temporary legal status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Said currently attends Loyola University Chicago as a third-year medical student.
“I am honored to host this gifted young medical student as my guest,” Durbin said in a statement. I hope her presence reminds President Trump what’s at stake in the debate over DACA: the lives of more than 750,000 innocent young people and the wellbeing of entire communities."
Rep. Robin Kelly
Kelly will be joined by a pair of guests Tuesday, including Donna Miller, vice chair of Planned Parenthood Illinois, and Matt McGill, host of WVON’s Matt McGill Show.
“My guests are leaders in the opposition to the Republicans War on Women and the President’s War on the First Amendment,” Kelly said in a statement. “Our nation is at a critical crossroads. I could not think of two more appropriate guests for this vital moment in our history.”
Rep. Luis Gutierrez
Gutierrez will host Chicago immigration attorney Fidaa Rashid who works primarily with Middle Eastern clientele. Rashid was born in the U.S. to refugee parents from Gaza in the Palestinian territories.
“The core American values of equality, fair treatment, a day in court, and a government that is accountable to the people who vote — these are all values that the Trump Administration flouts with arrogance and disdain,” Gutierrez said Friday in a Medium op-ed. "So, I will be there, with my guest, but I don’t plan on angling my way to the aisle, I do not plan to shout 'You Lie' even when he does, and I will also not be putting my hands together in support of his speech. He has a great deal of work to do for me to applaud him.”
Rep. Mike Quigley
Quigley is bringing Zarna Patel, a DREAMer who currently attends medical school at Loyola University Chicago.
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi
Krishnamoorthi will be joined by Debbie Trueblood, a constituent who could lose her health care if the Affordable Care Act is repealed without a suitable replacement. Trueblood suffers from Hereditary Andioedema, a rare, potentially life-threatening genetic condition that has limited treatment options.
“Not only could as many as 30 million Americans lose their health care if the law is repealed, but 52 million people with pre-existing conditions could find it nearly impossible to enroll in a new plan,” Krishnamoorthi said in a statement. "We need to find solutions to our nation’s health care challenges, and making it harder for Americans to afford the care they need to survive is an answer I will never accept.”
Rep. Jan Schakowsky
Schakowsky will host Chicagoan Suzanne Akhras Sahloul, the founder and executive director of the Syrian Community Network, a community-based refugee support network that focuses on resettling Syrian refugees in the U.S.
Rep. Brad Schneider
Schneider’s guest will be Tracy Trovato, an Illinoisan whose husband received life-saving coverage through the ACA. After Tracy’s husband, Carlo, was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of leukemia in 2013, he relied on reforms included in the ACA, which prohibit employer-provided plans from capping lifetime medical services at a level which may not cover necessary treatments.
“The Republican plan to repeal the ACA is reckless not just for those who depend on the law for coverage, but also for the millions of Americans who receive health insurance through their employer,” Schneider said in a statement. “Because of the prohibition of lifetime insurance caps, families like Tracy’s no longer have to choose between health care and bankruptcy.”
“I will continue to work to find ways to build on the progress we’ve made in the ACA and improve the law to ensure all Americans have access to quality, affordable health care,” he added.
Rep. Bill Foster
Foster will be joined by Samia Abdul-Qadir, a Naperville North High School student who participated in the congressman’s recent community discussion on Trump’s stifled travel ban.
“Our country thrives on the innovation, culture, and diversity that immigrants from all walks of life bring to the United States,” Foster said in a statement. “No one should have to live in fear that these opportunities will be taken from them. History has not looked kindly on us when we’ve prevented people fleeing violence from seeking refuge in this country.”
“Samia’s courage and conviction have stood out as a bright spot amidst an atmosphere of fear and hate,” he added.