Washington Update: Week of March 21

Washington Update

Global Food Security Act/Feed the Future

  • Following the passage of the Global Food Security Act of 2016 by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee a couple of weeks ago, there are still 121 co-sponsors of the act in the House and ongoing negotiations between the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Agriculture Committee.

Food-Aid Reform

  • The House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee held a hearing last week, and there was a good back and forth between Chairman Roger Aderholt (R-Ala.) and Ranking Member Sam Farr (D-Calif.). They differ on food-aid reform, specifically on whether the Obama administration’s push to use 25 percent of foreign food aid to buy supplies closer to areas in need would strengthen or weaken American international food-aid policy. Aderholt is opposed, but Farr mentioned that the ability to reduce transportation costs and shipping times by buying food supplies overseas enables the U.S. to respond more quickly to foreign crises and to stretch its buying power. Watch the video of the hearing.

Child Nutrition Reauthorization

  • The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its estimate of how much the Senate Agriculture Committee’s child nutrition bill would cost. According to CBO, it would increase spending on child nutrition programs by $1.1 billion. We are still waiting to hear how the Senate plans to proceed, as any increases in spending need to be offset.
  • Still no movement in the House. We continue to hear that they plan to write their own bill as early as this spring.

Budget & Appropriations

House Budget Resolution

  • The House Budget Committee marked up and passed its budget resolution last week. The resolution passed 20-16, with 2 Republicans joining the Democrats in opposition. The resolution adhered to the $1.07 trillion spending cap agreed to in budget negotiations at the end of last year. But it also included instructions and policies to cut spending totaling at least $30 billion over the next two years.
  • In addition to reconciliation instructions, the committee included language requiring at least $30 billion in savings over the next two years, or at least $140 billion over 10 years. Five committees in particular are being targeted for these savings — Agriculture, Energy and Commerce, Financial Services, Judiciary, and Ways and Means. The Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees considered legislation last week. One bill considered included a provision to reduce eligibility for the refundable portion of the child tax credit for immigrant families. The Agriculture committee has not yet released legislation, but we can expect to see something early in this session of Congress.
  • The House will not be bringing its budget resolution up for a vote before leaving for a two-week recess this week. Republican leadership does not currently have the votes to pass the resolution on the House floor due to continued opposition from the conservative House Freedom Caucus. However, appropriations committees are expected to move forward even if the House is unable to pass a budget resolution.


Act Now!

After Congress’ Easter recess, the House of Representatives is expected to consider a fiscal year 2017 budget resolution that threatens to push millions more American working families and children into hunger and poverty. Call (800/826-3688) or email your representative, and urge him/her to oppose the House budget resolution.

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Signers of the McGovern letter to the House Appropriations Committee

Congressional district numbers follow names:
Arizona: Raúl M. Grijalva (3); Ruben Gallego (7)
California: Julia Brownley (26); Barbara Lee (13); Linda T. Sánchez (38); Adam B. Schiff (28); Lois Capps (24); Ted W. Lieu (33); Karen Bass (37); Judy Chu (27); Raul Ruiz (38); Maxine Waters (43)
Colorado: Diana DeGette (1)
Connecticut: John B. Larson (1)
Florida: Corrine Brown (5); Debbie Wasserman Schultz (23); Theodore E. Deutch (21); Frederica S. Wilson (24)
Georgia: John Lewis (5)
Illinois: Robin L. Kelly (2); Bobby L. Rush (1); Danny K. Davis (7)
Iowa: David Loebsack (2)
Maryland: Donna F. Edwards (4); Elijah E. Cummings (7); Chris Van Hollen (8)
Massachusetts: James P. McGovern (2); Richard E. Neal (1); Katherine M. Clark (5)
Michigan: Debbie Dingell (12); John Conyers Jr. (13)
Minnesota: Timothy J. Walz (1)
Missouri: Wm. Lacy Clay (1)
New Jersey: Donald M. Payne Jr. (10); Bonnie Watson Coleman (12)
New Mexico: Ben Ray Luján (3)
New York: Charles B. Rangel (13); Jerrold Nadler (10); Yvette D. Clarke (9); Nydia M. Velazquez (7); Brian Higgins (26)
North Carolina: Alma S. Adams (12)
Ohio: Joyce Beatty (3)
Pennsylvania: Chaka Fattah (2)
Rhode Island: David N. Cicilline (1)
Tennessee: Steve Cohen (9)
Texas: Sheila Jackson Lee (18)
Vermont: Peter Welch (AL)
Virgin Islands: Stacey E. Plaskett
Washington, D.C.: Eleanor Holmes Norton
Washington: Jim McDermott (7); Adam Smith (9)
Wisconsin: Gwen Moore (4); Mark Pocan (2)

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