Washington Update: Week of April 3

Washington Update

Budget & Appropriations

  • Congress must pass a fiscal year 2017 appropriations funding bill by April 28 or else the federal government will shut down.
  • According to many sources on the Hill, appropriators on both sides of the aisle are rejecting President Trump’s requested fiscal year 2017 appropriations supplemental to cut $32 billion for non-defense discretionary in order to increase funding for defense and fund the border wall with Mexico. 
  • Congress will likely pass a defense supplemental that will increase spending for defense without funding the wall or directly cutting non-defense discretionary.
  • We are still watching spending levels for non-defense discretionary programs that help low-income families as this process unfolds. We will not support any cuts to non-defense discretionary to offset increases in defense.
  • House and Senate champions are working on an emergency $1 billion to be included in the fiscal year 2017 Defense Department supplemental to address the famines in Africa and the Middle East.

SNAP/Farm Bill

  • The House Agriculture Committee’s Nutrition Subcommittee held a hearing about the Farm Bill and SNAP on March 28.
  • Witnesses included Stacy Dean (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities), Russell Sykes (American Public Human Services Association), Joe Arthur (Central Pennsylvania Food Bank), Josh Protas (MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger), and Jennifer Hatcher (Food Marketing Institute).
  • Overall, the witnesses agreed that food assistance benefits don’t go far enough and that harsher work requirements, particularly for able-bodied adults without dependents, is not good policy. There also seemed to be bipartisan support for keeping SNAP in the Farm Bill. 

Act Now!

More than 20 million people across northeastern Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen are facing threat of famine and starvation in the next six months. Additional funding is needed now to avert increased death tolls, mass malnutrition, the destabilization of entire regions, and to support refugees fleeing into neighboring countries.

Call (800-826-3688) your senators and representative today, and tell them to provide $1 billion in additional emergency funding in fiscal year 2017 to avert catastrophic loss of life due to these historic crises. 

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