Washington Update: Week of February 20

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.


  • 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.

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