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.

Medicaid

  • 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.

Immigration

  • 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.

 

 

Tools
from our Resource Library

For Education

For Faith

  • Unity Declaration on Racism and Poverty

    A diverse body of Christian leaders calls on the churches and Congress to focus on the integral connection.

    Dear Members of Congress,

    As the president and Congress are preparing their plans for this year, almost 100 church leaders—from all the families of U.S. Christianity—are...

  • In Times Like These … A Pan-African Christian Devotional for Public Policy Engagement

    This devotional guide invites deepened relationship with and among Pan-Af­rican people and elected leaders in the mission to end hunger and poverty.

  • Sermon by David Beckmann at Duke University Chapel

    Remarks delivered October 1, 2017 at Duke University Chapel in Chapel Hill in North Carolina.

    Thank you for inviting me to preach here at Duke University Chapel. And I especially want to thank the Bread for the World members who have come this morning.

    Bruce Puckett urged...

For Advocacy

  • U.S. Hunger and Poverty State Fact Sheets

    These fact sheets provide a snapshot of hunger and poverty in the United States and in each state plus Washington, D.C. 

  • Fact Sheet: Hunger by the Numbers

    In 2017, 11.8 percent of households in the U.S.—40 million people—were food-insecure, meaning that they were unsure at some point during the year about how they would provide for their next meal.

  • Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017

    Unnecessarily long prison sentences, combined with the lack of rehabilitative programs for people in prison, exacerbate hunger, poverty, and existing inequalities.

    Overly harsh mandatory minimum prison sentences have contributed to the rapid increase of our country’s prison population. The...

Field

Changing Climate, Changing Farmers

February 7, 2017

Insight

April 10, 2018

The Jobs Challenge

From the Blog