Washington Update: Week of August 7

August 9, 2017
Washington Update

The Senate left for August recess last week. Congress will reconvene after Labor Day, Sept. 5. Fresh Bread will resume a week after Congress reconvenes.

Budget & Appropriations

  • September will be a critical time for Bread for the World's 2017 Offering of Letters: Doing Our Part to End Hunger. Congress will have until the end of September to raise the debt limit, finalize yearly spending (appropriations) bills, and pass a bipartisan budget deal that raises the yearly spending caps on defense and non-defense spending.
  • The Senate is expected to be pressing forward on a 2018 budget resolution in committee in September, but House Republicans remain divided over cuts to entitlement programs.
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wants to use the new budget for a tax-code overhaul this fall using a procedure that bypasses the need for a supermajority. The quickest way forward would be for the Senate to mark up its own budget after recess rather than waiting for the House to send one over.
  • The Senate is also expected to take up the State/Foreign Operations appropriations bill in committee in early September. The bill appears to currently have bipartisan support.
  • As for the debt ceiling, House Freedom Caucus continues to push for spending cuts to be attached to a $1.5 trillion debt ceiling increase. The estimated three dozen caucus members would likely vote against a clean debt ceiling increase. It's possible that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will need to work with Democrats on a clean increase.


  • Last week Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the chair and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, called for an open bipartisan hearing on health care. Since Congress failed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, some senators and representatives are now working on a bipartisan basis to address concerns with the health insurance markets.


  • The Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment or RAISE Act (S. 354), introduced by Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.), will drastically reduce legal immigration to the United States. The RAISE Act will cap refugee admissions and cut total immigration in half by eliminating diversity and cutting family-based visas. It will also create a new visa system that awards points to potential immigrants based on such characteristics as English proficiency and higher education.
  • It will also create additional barriers to immigrants seeking to become naturalized Americans, and preventing those who have used health care or other help with basic needs from becoming citizens and penalizing their sponsors. By punishing families for simply needing health care and other support, the proposal directly contradicts Bread for the World's immigration principles.
  • We will not support the RAISE Act. Neither will we support it as a legislative vehicle to pass the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (Dream) Act or to bypass protections currently provided for in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Act.

Act Now!

Members of Congress have returned to their home states and districts, leaving behind unfinished business such as the budget for fiscal year 2018. What lawmakers hear from constituents like you this month will impact the decisions they make.

Engage your lawmakers while they're home for August recess! Visit Bread for the World's Activist Corner for the latest updates and resources.



from our Resource Library

For Education

  • The Nourishing Effect

    Hunger and food insecurity add at least $160 billion a year to U.S. healthcare costs.

  • The Impacts of Proposed Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Cuts on the Latino Community

    To end hunger and poverty in the United States by 2030, our country needs to support a budget that improves the lives of men, women, and children. Unfortunately, the Trump administration and Congress are proposing dramatic cuts to programs that promote economic opportunity or provide food...

  • The Dream Act of 2017 (S. 1615 & H.R. 3440)


    The United States is a nation of immigrants. Throughout its history, people have moved here from all over the world and have contributed to their communities and our national life. Today, as in the past, immigrants are also creating prosperity for this nation. 


For Faith

  • The Bible on Health as a Hunger Issue

    A brief examination of the biblical approach to health as a hunger issue.

    Includes an introduction to the issue, a Scriptural reflection, practical actions you can take, and a prayer.

  • Bread Newsletter January 2016

    In this issue: Another Great Year for Bread; Catholics Begin Observance of Holy Year of Mercy; Serving on ‘God’s Wave Length’ for 39 Years; and more.

  • Interfaith Religious Leaders’ Pledge to End Hunger

    A wide array of the nation’s faith leaders have come together on the eve of Pope Francis’ arrival in the United States to commit ourselves to encourage our communities to work for the end of hunger by 2030 and, toward that end, for a shift in U.S. national priorities.

    We are deeply pleased...

For Advocacy

  • Grassroots Advocacy Toolkit

    A set of how-to sheets for carrying out advocacy and fact sheets on the current issues Bread for the World is working on.

    For new and current Bread grassroots hunger activists.

    Ideal as a starter toolkit for new Bread activists or as a set of updates for current activists.


  • The State of Black Poverty: A Pan-African Millennial Perspective on Ending Hunger by 2030

    Over the past year and a half, about two-dozen young adults from the United States and countries in Africa and the Caribbean, have gathered virtually and in person to reflect on the effects of hunger and poverty in black communities. The working group has been considering socio-political and...

  • Fact Sheet: The Hunger-Medicaid Connection

    Congress is considering proposals that would jeopardize healthcare coverage for millions of poor and near-poor adults and children. 

    Legislation under consideration in the House and Senate would gut...