Washington Update: Week of October 16

Washington Update

Budget & Appropriations (2017 Offering of Letters)

Fiscal Year 2018 Appropriations

  • As of today, there are only 23 workdays remaining (and 15 in the House) until the continuing resolution measure funding the federal government runs out on Dec. 8.

Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Resolution

  • As early as Thursday, Oct. 19, the Senate could take up the FY 2018 budget resolution with the goal of advancing reconciliation instructions, which would allow Republicans to pass their $1.5 trillion tax bill by a simple majority without having to win any Democratic support.
  • The House adopted its budget resolution on Oct. 5. While the House budget resolution cut mandatory spending for low-income programs to pay for the $1.5 trillion in tax cuts, the Senate budget resolution does not include offsets.
  • The Senate budget resolution is likely to pass with moderate senators voting in favor in order to move the tax reform process along. Anytime the Senate votes on a budget resolution the amendment process called “voterama” occurs.
  • Bread for the World is concerned about amendments that cut humanitarian and development assistance, Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and other key programs that help poor and vulnerable populations. If the Senate budget resolution passes, the House and Senate will conference their bills and vote again.
  • Historically, large tax cuts like the one being debated by Congress, without increased revenue (or at least revenue neutral) lead to detrimental cuts to programs like SNAP, job-training, humanitarian and development assistance, and other key programs that protect poor and vulnerable people.

Food-Aid Reform

  • The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is holding a hearing on cargo preference and food-aid reform on Thursday, Oct. 19. Witnesses from Catholic Relief Services and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) will testify. Bread also worked with AEI on a report they are releasing this week about the farm bill and food-aid reform. 

Criminal Justice Reform

  • Two weeks ago, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) reintroduced the bipartisan Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act (S.1917). Bread for the World supported SRCA last year and urged Congress to quickly pass this important sentencing and corrections legislation. The language of the reintroduced bill is the same as last year.
  • The House has only introduced the corrections aspect of the bill and is debating on whether to reintroduce the Sentencing Reform Act. 

Act Now!

The Senate is expected to vote on a budget resolution this week that will increase the deficit and provide $1.5 trillion in tax cuts to high-income individuals and corporations. This could result in deep cuts to domestic and international programs that work to end hunger and poverty.

Email your senators today. Urge them to reject budget cuts that increase hunger and poverty. 

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