Washington Update: Week of February 20

February 22, 2017
Washington Update

Budget & Appropriations

  • President Trump is expected to release a “skinny” budget proposal in the coming weeks.
  • We are deeply concerned about drastic cuts to non-defense discretionary spending. Additionally, we believe that the budget will not continue budget parity between defense and non-defense spending. We are planning meetings with key appropriators in the following weeks to discuss the importance of non-defense discretionary spending.

Immigration

  • We are still urging Republicans in both the House and Senate to co-sponsor the BRIDGE Act (HR.496/S.128).
  • The BRIDGE (Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy) Act would protect undocumented young adults who qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
  • Many of these individuals, commonly referred to as “DREAMers,” were brought to the U.S. as children. The law would allow DREAMers to legally work and study in the U.S.

Affordable Care Act

  • Last week, we began to learn about some details of the Republican replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). House Republican leaders shared a plan with members last Thursday, although some key points still need to be resolved.
  • The Congressional Budget Office has yet to analyze the proposal, but it appears it will include tax credits (instead of the current subsidies), an expansion of health savings accounts, money for high-risk insurance pools to care for the sick, and a major restructuring of Medicaid to cap federal payments.
  • We are particularly concerned about major changes to Medicaid. The plan proposes instituting “per capita caps,” limiting the payments to states of a fixed per-person amount, or allowing states to choose to receive Medicaid funding as a block grant. A block grant or per-capita cap on Medicaid would limit the amount of money available to states to serve Medicaid recipients. The plan also repeals the ACA’s Medicaid expansion “in its current form” by phasing out the federal money states are receiving for providing expanded Medicaid coverage.
  • We are still uncertain of what the timeline is for repeal and replace, but we do know that Republicans will face a contentious and uphill climb in their efforts to overhaul health care. Several Republican senators have reportedly expressed concern about whether a major Medicaid overhaul would have the votes to pass the Senate given the number of states that have expanded Medicaid and would be impacted by the Medicaid changes.

SNAP/Farm Bill

  • The House Agriculture Committee held a hearing last Thursday on the pros and cons of restricting SNAP purchases. Four of the five witnesses testified that healthy incentives, better access to nutritious food, nutrition education, and additional SNAP benefits would be better policies for improving SNAP diets than restrictions.
  • This is very much in line with Bread’s position on this issue. We will be sharing Bread’s 2016 Hunger Report on health and hunger with committee staff and keep monitoring the issue as the 2018 Farm Bill process moves forward.

Act Now!

This is an important year for Congress to hear from constituents like you. The 2017 Offering of Letters: Doing Our Part to End Hunger is focused on urging Congress to make funding decisions that put us on track to end hunger by 2030. Watch the 60-second video introducing this year’s campaign and share it with your family, your friends, or your church. Find out more about the campaign at bread.org/ol.

You can subscribe to the content of Washington Update, delivered to you an email, in a newsletter called Fresh Bread.

Tools
from our Resource Library

For Education

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.

  • 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...

  • 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.
     

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.

    ...

  • 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...

  • Health Care Is a Hunger Issue

    Learn more about the principles that Bread for the World supports regarding health reform.

Field

Changing Climate, Changing Farmers

February 7, 2017

Insight

From the Blog