Washington Update: Week of June 20

Washington Update

Global Food Security Act/Feed the Future

  • The majority leader in the House originally agreed to bring the Global Food Security Act (GFSA) up for final passage this week but had to postpone consideration due to an already full voting schedule. The vote is now tentatively set for after the Independence Day holiday, possibly as soon as July 5.
  • Bread is compiling a list of House supporters, non-supporters, and undecideds of the GFSA from Lobby Day meeting reports and calls to offices. Tuesday, June 28 is a Blitz Day, when we will send a network-wide action alert, conduct smart calls, and send blasts on social media in support of GFSA.

Child Nutrition Reauthorization

  • In addition to Bread’s annual Lobby Day, held June 7, there were a number of advocacy actions and events on Capitol Hill that week around child nutrition, particularly around the House bill that includes a school meal block grant proposal. We signed on to a community statement opposing the block grant proposal which was shared as part of a rally hosted by congressional leaders last Thursday.
  • We continue to wait and see how the House and Senate plan to move forward with their respective bills and continue to ask Congress to pass a strong bipartisan child nutrition bill that connects hungry children with nutritious meals.

Budget & Appropriations

  • The House and Senate continue to work to consider and pass appropriations bills in their respective chambers.
  • The House continues considering spending bills this week under a new rule change that limits the number of amendments. The House leadership hopes that limiting amendments will keep controversial amendments from derailing the appropriations process.
  • In the Senate, consideration of the Commerce-Justice-Science spending bill was delayed following the mass shooting in Orlando and subsequent filibuster urging votes on gun control amendments. As a compromise, Senate leadership will allow four votes on gun measures this week as the Senate proceeds with consideration of the Commerce-Justice-Science spending bill.
  • The House State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Subcommittee will have the fiscal year 2017 subcommittee mark-up on June 23. The Senate State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Subcommittee has yet to release its markup date, although it may take place before the July 4 recess.
  • While both chambers are working to pass their appropriations bills, the limited number of legislative days between now and the end of the fiscal year make it increasingly likely we’ll see a continuing resolution in September in order to keep the government funded beyond the end of the fiscal year.

Mass Incarceration

  • Last week, over 100 faith leaders participated in a prayer vigil and met with their members of Congress to talk about S. 2123, the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act (SRCA). Currently, the legislation has 34 co-sponsors, including 15 Republicans. Two of Bread’s activists, Revs. Jerome Dillard and Aaron Hicks, from Wisconsin, met personally with Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) to urge him to support the bill. Johnson expressed an appreciation of the importance of SRCA but did not indicate whether he would co-sponsor it at this time.
  • The faith community is still pushing to get Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to put the bill on the floor for a vote. Right now, Senate Republicans are still divided on their support of the legislation, despite changes that were made to accommodate more conservatives. In order for this bill to reach the floor, there needs to be grassroots pressure in targeted states where Republican senators are facing tough re-election battles. This week, Bread will send an action alert to members in states such as Illinois and Wisconsin to give local pressure to senators who are considered vulnerable. The goal is to get those senators to pressure McConnell for a floor vote. 

Act Now!

Call (800-826-3688) or email your representative, and tell him/her to oppose H.R. 5003, the House’s child nutrition bill. This bill would block grant school meals and make it more difficult for tens of thousands, if not millions, of children to access nutritious meals. Any child nutrition bill must have a bipartisan approach to connecting more hungry children with nutritious meals.

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