Budget & Appropriations (2017 Offering of Letters)
- The debate over how to address the status of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients is creating a hurdle in the appropriations process.
- Recently, President Trump informed a group of Republican lawmakers that he opposes any effort to include language to shield “Dreamers” from deportation in the upcoming year-end spending legislation.
- This will likely complicate final negotiations with congressional Democrats. Democratic leaders in both chambers have called for protections for “Dreamers” by the end of the year, and the spending bill is the most likely place to settle an otherwise difficult complicated debate.
- In September, President Trump agreed with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.-12) to move a border security bill by year’s end, and pair it with legislation that would provide a pathway to citizenship for the young immigrants. Schumer declined to comment on the president’s meeting with Republican members. He said protections for the “Dreamers” could still clear Congress this year.
- Republicans will need Democrat votes in order to pass year-end spending bills, raise the budget caps, and address the debt ceiling.
- Last Thursday, Nov. 2, the House Committee on Ways and Means released H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. This bill provides $1.5 trillion in tax cuts to mostly high-income wage earners and corporations.
- The proposal fails all of Bread for the World’s tax priorities. We are especially concerned about a harmful provision that will eliminate the child tax credit (CTC) for low-income immigrant families, specifically 3 million children in mixed-status families. Without this credit, families may not be able to pay for basic needs such as food. Children will go hungry and lack the resources they need to stay healthy and prepare for their future.
- Additionally, H.R. 1 eliminates the New Markets Tax Credit and Work Opportunity Tax Credit (NMTC). The NMTC has done more to reduce the number of food deserts than any other program to date, and more than 72 percent of all NMTC investments have been in communities exhibiting severe hunger.
- The House Committee on Ways and Means is currently considering H.R. 1, with plans to complete its work by late Wednesday, Nov. 8 and bring it to the House floor the following week.
- The Senate is not moving as quickly, but the Senate Finance Committee may work on its version of a tax cut bill starting the week of Nov. 13. While they hope to finish and get it to the Senate floor before Thanksgiving, floor debate could easily slip until after the Thanksgiving recess.
- The Senate’s bill is subject to reconciliation rules, as provided in the budget resolution. In addition, it cannot be filibustered, and therefore can pass with only a simple majority of 51 votes. The leadership hopes to get a final tax bill to President Trump’s desk before Christmas. It’s unclear whether that will happen.
- The House Agriculture Committee staff is close to finishing drafting the Farm Bill. However, Chairman Mike Conaway (R-Texas-11) will not release the bill until he is guaranteed floor time for its consideration.
- We now believe that the House will not consider the Farm Bill until February or March 2018. It is also uncertain as to when the Senate Agriculture Committee will consider its version. But it is unlikely that the Senate bill will move before spring 2018.
Healthy Food Access for All Americans Act
- This week, the Healthy Food Access for All Americans Act (HFAAA) will be introduced in the House. HFAAA provides tax incentives for grocery stores, farmer’s markets, and other fresh food vendors to locate in food deserts, in both urban and rural areas. Bread for the World supports this legislation.
- This bill, S.1724, was introduced in the Senate earlier this year by Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.). Cosponsors include Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.). In the House, the sponsors for this legislation with be Reps. Tim Ryan (R-Ohio-13), Don McEachin (D-Va.-04), and Dwight Evans (D-Pa.-02).
Call (800-826-3688) your members of Congress and urge them to reject H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This bill provides massive tax cuts that will be paid for by cuts to low-income programs and the safety net.