Washington Update: Week of October 19

Washington Update

Global Food Security Act: (H.R. 1567/S. 1252):  Momentum is building around legislation that, if passed, would codify the Feed the Future initiative into law and become our nation’s strongest tool to alleviate food insecurity globally. The House bill has 88 cosponsors. Our goal is 100 cosponsors – a number we believe will help the bill move toward a vote on the floor. The Senate bill has 10 cosponsors and it is expected that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will markup the bill soon. You can see if your member is a cosponsor in the House here, and the Senate here.

The Food for Peace Reform Act: (S. 525): On October 7,  Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, testified in front of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs about the urgency and sacred call to reform U.S. food aid policy, which would help get additional life-saving food to millions more hungry people. A bill has not yet been introduced in the House. The Senate bill (S. 525) is expected to receive a committee markup soon and has five cosponsors.

Child Nutrition Reauthorization: Legislation authorizing child nutrition policy has expired. However, programs continue to be funded. Neither the Senate nor House committees have produced a bill and addressed the child hunger gap by improving nutritional programs. Last month, more than 15,500 letters were sent to Congress from just two states. Continue to keep up pressure and urge Congress to get the job done.

Budget:  Although uncertainty around the selection of House speaker is garnering a lot of attention, Congress must pass a budget by December 11 to avoid a government shutdown. A shutdown would be devastating if programs that help vulnerable populations are left without proper funding.  In addition, the deadline to raise the debt ceiling is in early November. Bread is asking Congress to pass a budget that lifts sequestration – harmful spending caps that put anti-hunger programs at risk. At the same time, we must make it clear to legislators that anti-hunger programs cannot bear the burden of any offsets.

Tax Credits for Working Families: The earned income tax credit (EITC) and the child tax credit (CTC) move more people out of poverty than any other government program, but 2009 improvements are set to expire in 2017 unless Congress makes them permanent.  Congress has an opportunity right now to strengthen the EITC for childless workers. Legislators have until December 31 to pass a tax extender bill – popular business and individual tax policy that is extended each year. It still remains to be seen whether lawmakers will try to make a few popular tax breaks for businesses permanent as part of that tax extenders legislation. Tax breaks for businesses are no longer expected to move in the highway bill. If Congress makes even one tax break for business permanent in any bill, they must also make provisions in EITC and CTC permanent.

Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act (S.2123): Bread continues to advocate for bills that reform our criminal justice policy and help end hunger and poverty. A bipartisan bill has been introduced in the Senate – a first major step toward reform. The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to schedule a markup of the bill later this week. Bread members should call on their U.S. senators and urge them to cosponsor the bill.

Call to Action:  Members of Congress must hear from faithful advocates on all of these issues repeatedly. Go to Bread’s action page (www.bread.org/write) and email your members of Congress. Contact your regional organizer for ideas on how to build momentum in your community or to set up an in-district meeting. We also invite you to join us each month for our National Grassroots Conference Call and Webinar. 

Related Resources