Washington Update: Week of February 22

Washington Update

Global Food Security Act/Feed the Future

  • Still 117 cosponsors in the House.
  • We expect the bill to be filed in the House soon — maybe this week. The House Foreign Affairs Committee is still hoping for suspension of the rules to pass (when debate on the bill is limited and amendments can’t be offered during the vote — a good thing for this act). The committee is close to agreeing on a final text with the House Agriculture Committee. It seems this may take a while longer. From there, this issue would move to the Senate and a path forward with the Foreign Relations Committee. We might see movement in this committee in late February, but it is waiting for the House to pass the bill through.

Child Nutrition Reauthorization

  • Still waiting for the Senate to bring the bill passed by the Agriculture Committee to the floor for a vote and for the House to introduce its own bill.
  • The House’s Stop Child Summer Hunger Act of 2015 (H.R. 2715, the House Summer EBT bill) has 17 new cosponsors as of the new year, for a total of 86 cosponsors, including 5 Republicans. View the full list.
  • The Senate’s Summer Meals Act of 2015 (S.613, to strengthen summer meals programs) has one new cosponsor as of the new year (Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.) for a total of 19 cosponsors. View the full list.

Budget & Appropriations


  • Republicans on the House Budget Committee are considering a draft fiscal year 2017 budget resolution that would contain about $30 billion in cuts to mandatory programs. This draft is not final yet, and details have not been released. However, the Budget Committee is expected to consider the resolution in mid-March.
  • The Budget Committee Republicans want to offset a lot of the spending increases approved last year in the Bipartisan Budget Act (the deal that lifted sequestration and raised the spending caps). House Budget members are trying to please fiscal conservatives who think the government is spending too much. They are proposing cuts that would offset a lot of the spending increases in last year’s budget deal.
  • We don’t have details yet of what this House budget plan looks like, but many reports have been talking about making reforms/cuts to Medicaid and other welfare programs. This is obviously concerning to Bread.
  • No major updates yet on if/when the Senate will draft its own fiscal year 2017 budget resolution. Its decision could depend on what the final version of a House resolution looks like.


  • Reps. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), Michael McCaul (R-Texas), Lois Capps (D-Calif.), Dennis Ross (R-Florida), and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) are leading a bipartisan Maternal and Child Health (MCH) and Nutrition letter to House appropriators in support of robust funding for lifesaving programs for women and children globally in fiscal year 2017 (the focus of Bread’s 2016 Offering of Letters).
  • The Senate is expected to have a similar letter, but it has not been launched yet. The MCH and nutrition community, including Bread, is reaching out to offices to sign on to this letter by March 16, particularly previous champions and Republicans in the House.

Mass Incarceration

  • We continue to push the Senate to bring the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act (SRCA) to the floor for a full vote. Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and other key senators are still considering possible tweaks to the bill before bringing it to the floor in order to ensure the bill has the support it needs to pass. These talks could finish up as early as this week. Read Bread’s analysis of this bill.
  • The Sentencing Reform Coalition held a Twitterstorm yesterday targeting Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and urging him to bring sentencing reform to the floor. Bread participated in this event.
  • Last week, Bread staff led a letter-writing campaign at the Proctor Conference in Houston in support of SRCA. Conference attendees wrote 130 letters by hand, and over 100 people tweeted their senators.


  • On Wednesday, the Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee will hold a hearing on the president’s Food and Nutrition Service budget proposal for fiscal year 2017. Multiple witnesses from USDA will testify, including Undersecretary Kevin Concannon. More information available here.

Act Now!

Take part in Bread for the World’s 2016 Offering of Letters: Survive and Thrive. Contact your members of Congress by phone (800/826-3688) or email. Tell them to provide $230 million to improve the nutrition of mothers and children overseas.

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

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