Washington Update: Week of October 2

Washington Update

Budget & Appropriations (2017 Offering of Letters)

  • The House and Senate are moving forward on fiscal year 2018 budget resolutions this week. The House is expected to begin considering its resolution on the floor as early as Wednesday, Oct. 4 with final passage expected by Thursday, Oct. 5.
  • The resolution is the same one passed out of the House Budget Committee back in July. As a reminder, budget resolutions are non-binding but set overall spending levels for the upcoming fiscal year as well as government spending levels for the next 10 years. Budget resolutions can also set up fast-track processes for spending cuts or tax code changes.
  • The House budget resolution proposes deep cuts to discretionary and mandatory spending in both the short and long term. In the short term, the resolution includes reconciliation instructions to 11 committees to find $203 billion in savings from mandatory programs.
  • These instructions set up a fast-track process for Congress to be able to reform the tax code and make cuts to mandatory programs. We’re concerned this process could result in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, refundable tax credits for low-income working families (earned income tax credit EITC and child tax credit CTC), and school meals.
  • In addition to the reconciliation instructions, the budget overall assumes much deeper cuts to safety-net programs. The budget recommends (and assumes Congress will enact) stricter work requirements for SNAP, Medicaid, and TANF; give states more flexibility in administering and cutting costs for SNAP and Medicaid; change community eligibility for school meal programs; and reduce “waste, fraud, and abuse” in refundable tax credits.
  • The result would be $150 billion in cuts to SNAP, $20 billion in cuts to the EITC and CTC, $1.6 billion in cuts to school meals, and $114 billion in cuts to Medicaid above those proposed by the American Health Care Act. The budget also assumes $1.3 trillion in discretionary spending cuts over the next 10 years. This would put all of the yearly funded programs we care about – WIC, summer EBT, international development programs – at risk of deep cuts in the next decade.
  • The House budget resolution will go to the Rules Committee on Tuesday where some amendments could be ruled in order. At least one amendment to protect SNAP has already been introduced by Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.).
  • On the Senate side, the Senate Budget Committee will mark-up its fiscal year 2018 budget resolution in two parts, this Wednesday, Oct. 4 at 2:30 p.m. and Thursday, Oct. 5 at 10:30 am.
  • The resolution differs from the House in a few areas. On discretionary spending, the resolution keeps within the fiscal year 2018 budget caps. On reconciliation, the resolution only includes instructions to two Senate Committees: Senate Finance to cut taxes by $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years, and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources to save at least $1 billion over the next 10 years.
  • It also includes instructions to the appropriate House committees to mirror the Senate instructions. Like the House budget resolution, the Senate resolution assumes huge savings in mandatory spending programs, including the areas of the budget which fund agriculture and nutrition programs.

Immigration—Dream Act (S.1615/ H.R. 3440)

  • This Tuesday, Oct. 3, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and legislative solutions. We have sent a statement to the committee regarding our immigration principles and commitment to a fast and thorough legislative solution for “Dreamers.”

Tax Reform

  • Last week the “Big Six,” which includes the top House and Senate leaders, the chairmen of the two chambers’ tax-writing committees, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, released their tax framework which the non-partisan Tax Policy Center estimates would reduce federal revenue by $2.4 trillion over 10 years and $3.2 trillion over the second decade.
  • These tax cuts are not paid for by closing tax loopholes or limiting deductions, but instead add to the deficit. This spike in the deficit will increase the likelihood of future deep cuts to SNAP, Social Security, Medicaid, education, and other services. Those with the very highest incomes would receive the biggest tax cuts.

Act Now!

Call (800-826-3688) or email your representative and urge them to oppose House Concurrent Resolution 71. This resolution would increase hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world and should be rejected.

This resolution proposes cutting SNAP, Medicaid, and refundable tax credits for low-income working families. It also proposes cutting yearly spending on non-defense programs by $1.3 trillion over 10 years, putting programs like WIC, summer meals, global nutrition, and international development at risk of deep cuts.

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