Washington Update: Week of October 16

October 17, 2017
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. 

You can subscribe to the content of Washington Update, delivered to you as an email, in a newsletter called Fresh Bread.

from our Resource Library

For Education

  • Election Resources

    One of the best times to raise the issues of hunger and poverty is during election campaigns. Engage candidates in your state/district on hunger and poverty using our elections resources.
  • Racially Equitable Responses to Hunger During COVID-19 and Beyond

    By Marlysa D. Gamblin and Kathleen King

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines food insecurity as when a person or household does not have regular, reliable access to the foods needed for good health. Black, Indigenous, and Other People of Color (BIPOC) have historically had higher...

  • Fact Sheet: COVID-19 Global Pandemic, Better Nutrition Protects Lives

    With the coronavirus now spreading in low-resource contexts and new waves of infection expected in the coming year, better nutrition for vulnerable people is more important than ever.

For Faith

  • Finding Hope, Ending Hunger on Both Sides of the Border: A Bilingual Latino Devotional

    Devotional writers challenge us to feel the Spirit of God within us and to hear God’s urgent call to demand justice so all can put food on the table.
  • The Bible on Health as a Hunger Issue

    “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in faith.” These words from Colossians 2:6 remind us of the faith that is active in love for our neighbors.

    The Bible on...

  • Unity Declaration on Racism and Poverty

    A diverse body of Christian leaders calls on the churches and Congress to focus on the integral connection.

    Dear Members of Congress,

    As the president and Congress are preparing their plans for this year, almost 100 church leaders—from all the families of U.S. Christianity—are...

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