Washington Update: Week of October 23

October 24, 2017
Washington Update

Budget & Appropriations (Offering of Letters 2017)

  • The Senate adopted a fiscal year 2018 budget resolution Friday, Oct. 20 that House Republican leaders agreed to accept. The budget cleared the Senate 51-49, with all Democrats and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) voting against it.
  • The House Rules Committee is scheduled to consider the resolution Tuesday, Oct. 24 and the House will simply vote this week on the budget that passed the Senate.
  • Final approval of the measure will unlock reconciliation rules allowing Republicans to pass a tax code rewrite without Democratic support. The House and Senate tax-writing committees have to release its tax bills by Nov. 13, according to the resolution, but there is no penalty for missing the deadline. Republicans are aiming to pass a tax bill by the end of the year.
  • The year’s most divisive fights in Congress are set to converge in a bitter partisan clash in December that could result in a government shutdown. The unresolved battles – over a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, immigration, healthcare subsidies, and continued Puerto Rico relief – are hanging over talks on must-pass spending legislation to keep the government open after Dec. 8.  The year-end spending measure is at risk of becoming so weighted with controversial items that it could collapse. 
  • Even without contentious issues, completing a more than $1 trillion spending bill in time would be a tall order. Congress will likely pass a continuing resolution (CR) to temporarily fund the government for a week at a time.
  • There’s still a chance the two parties could agree on a deal. Senate Democrats have leverage because spending bills require 60 votes for passage.
  • The U.S.-Mexico border wall fight alone could lead to a government shutdown. Trump upped the ante by saying in May that a "good shutdown" may be necessary to win approval of $1.6 billion he wants to fund the wall. The money is in the House and Senate draft spending bills for the Department of Homeland Security, meaning it will be on the table in any omnibus negotiations.

Food-Aid Reform

  • Last week, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on international food aid, specifically focused on cargo preference. You can find a link to the video here. You can find an AEI report on the same issue here.
  • No specific legislation has been introduced but we expect potential draft farm bill language in the House by next month, and will continue to work with champions on food-aid reforms in that process.

Criminal Justice Reform

  • Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) is likely to introduce a “corrections only” bill this week in an attempt to move the criminal justice reform conversation away from the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017 (S.1917) to only corrections legislation.
  • We are urging Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va-6) to re-introduce the bipartisan Sentencing Reform Act. Without the re-introduction of the SRA, we are likely to see just corrections only bills move through committees.

Ask Now!

This week, the House will vote to approve the Senate's budget resolution, which will pave the way for tax cuts. To pay for the cuts, critical anti-hunger and anti-poverty programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), low-income tax credits, and Medicaid would be cut over the next 10 years.

Find out how your representative and senators voted on their chamber's budget resolution. Call (800-826-3688) and thank them if they voted "no." If they voted "yes," tell them you are disappointed.

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