Washington Update: Week of March 12

Washington Update

Global Food Security Reauthorization Act

  • Lawmakers have introduced the Global Food Security Reauthorization Act (H.R. 5129/S. 2269) in both chambers.
  • Both bills call for extending the Global Food Security Act for at least three years in order to build upon existing programmatic success and strengthen U.S. agricultural innovation. Current authorization for the law ends September 30, 2018.

Budget & Appropriations (2018 Offering of Letters)

  • House and Senate negotiators plan to introduce a $1.2 trillion spending bill by Wednesday, March 14 to avoid a government shutdown. The House is expected to vote on Friday, March 16, giving the Senate a week to complete action before the March 23 shutdown deadline.
  • Three obstacles remain to completing a deal on the spending bill: funding for the commuter railroad tunnel under the Hudson River between New Jersey and New York; money for a border wall; and funding for family planning. A compromise is expected to be reached on each of the issues.
  • Bread for the World continues to push appropriators and relevant staff to ensure that domestic and international poverty programs are funded at appropriate levels.
  • As lawmakers wrap up negotiations on the current fiscal year’s spending package, Congressional hearings will be held with Trump administration officials in the coming weeks on next year’s (fiscal year 2019) spending proposals.

Farm Bill

  • The House Agriculture Committee could release its version of the Farm Bill as early as this week. A vote would be expected on the floor a week after the bill is considered in committee. If they are unable to release a bill this week, we will likely see a House bill in April after Congress’ spring recess.
  • Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) has also indicated he wants to try and move a bill sometime in April.
  • News reports indicate that the bill’s nutrition title includes harmful cuts and policy changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), including stricter work requirements.
  • Currently, childless adults between 18 and 50 years old must work at least 80 hours a month in order to receive benefits. The bill is expected to include work requirements on adults up to age 65 and possibly parents with children over age 12.
  • Chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Foreign Affairs Committees, Reps. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Eliot Engel (D-NY), and Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.), plan to introduce legislation on Tuesday, March 13 that would restructure Food for Peace, a U.S. food aid program that is part of the Farm Bill.
  • If enacted, this bipartisan legislation would modernize U.S. food aid programs and provide millions more people with lifesaving aid at no additional cost. We expect this legislation could be added to this year’s Farm Bill through an amendment.

Act Now!

Call (800-826-3688) your members of Congress and urge them to co-sponsor the Global Food Security Reauthorization Act. The legislation’s reauthorization will strengthen U.S.-funded global agricultural innovation and build up the political will needed to end global hunger and malnutrition in our lifetime.

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