Washington Update: Week of March 26

March 28, 2018
Washington Update

Budget & Appropriations (2018 Offering of Letters)

  • Last week, Congress passed and the president signed the fiscal year 2018 omnibus spending bill. The bipartisan bill largely maintained U.S. foreign aid and domestic safety-net funding at fiscal year 2017 levels.
  • The omnibus passed the House by a 256-167 vote. The Senate passed the measure by a vote of 65-32.

Domestic

  • The bill fully funds the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) at $6.2 billion and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) at $238 million, $2 million more than fiscal year 2017, and enough to provide food boxes for more than 725,000 low-income seniors.
  • Summer EBT demonstration projects received $28 million, a $5 million increase over fiscal year 2017, to allow for expansion in more states. The demonstration projects have reduced the most severe forms of child food insecurity by up to one-third.
  • The bill also includes the largest ever single year increase in federal funding for the Child Care and Development Block grant. The increase will provide resources for more than 151,000 additional children to gain child care assistance.

International

  • Overall, the bill provides $54 billion for state and foreign operations, which is $3.4 billion, or about 6 percent, below the fiscal year 2017 levels. However, the bulk of these cuts come in part from a reduction in supplemental funds provided last year to specific counter-ISIS operations.
  • Food for Peace is funded at $1.7 billion, which is up from about $1.46 billion in fiscal year 2017. McGovern-Dole is funded at $207 million, up $5 million from fiscal year 2017. The additional $5 million is for Local and Regional Procurement (LRP), for a total of $10 million for fiscal year 2018. Bread for the World has advocated for increased funding for LRP through the farm bill and spending bills for several years.
  • There was no deal for DACA recipients or Dreamers in the omnibus deal. However, the omnibus bill does include $1.6 billion for replacement fencing and barriers along the southern border.

Farm Bill

  • Bipartisan farm bill negotiations in the House have stalled. House Agriculture Committee Chair Mike Conaway (R-Texas-11) has indicated he plans to move forward with a bill in committee in April, with or without Democratic support. Bread continues to push back against harmful SNAP provisions and is working with the committee on food aid reform language.
  • The Senate is reportedly continuing to work on a farm bill. They have publicly said they would still like to mark-up a bill this spring. 

Immigration

  • Last week, the president and congressional leadership attempted to negotiate a permanent plan for DACA recipients as part of the omnibus deal.
  • However, a deal was never struck because the Trump administration is opposed to a pathway to citizenship.
  • With the passage of the fiscal year 2018 budget (the last must-pass bill of the year), we are now unlikely to see any legislative action on immigration, including protections for Dreamers, until after the 2018 midterm elections. 

Act Now!

The president’s fiscal year 2019 budget proposal includes deep cuts — $1.5 trillion in cuts — to programs that help people struggling with hunger and poverty. These cuts are unacceptable. Call (800-826-3688) or email your members of Congress and urge them to invest in and protect key programs that will help reduce hunger and poverty. 

Tools
from our Resource Library

For Education

  • Feed the Future

    Feed the Future, launched in 2010, grew out of the U.S. response, led by President George W. Bush, to the 2007-2008 global food price crisis. Prices of basic foods doubled or tripled in some countries and pushed an additional 150 million people into hunger and malnutrition.

  • 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. 

  • Hunger and Poverty in the African-American Community

    While hunger declined from 2017 for the general U.S. population, African Americans experienced a one percent increase, an increase of 153,000 African American households.

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

  • 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.

    ...

  • 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. 

  • 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

The Jobs Challenge

April 10, 2018

From the Blog