Congressional Update 2/17/2010

February 17, 2010 at 8:09 am Leave a comment

Congressional Update during the 111th Congress
February 17, 2009

Inside Washington

  • The Washington, DC, region was snowed in last week, so Fresh Bread could not be published. Our apologies. This week, Congress is on its President’s Day recess. The next issue of Fresh Bread will come out Tuesday, March 2.
  • On February 9, First Lady Michelle Obama launched the “Let’s Move” campaign focused on improving child nutrition and reducing childhood obesity. Earlier that day, President Obama signed a presidential memorandum establishing a task force on childhood obesity.
  • U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack will outline the administration’s priorities for child nutrition reauthorization on February 23 at the National Press Club.

Bread’s Issues

Protecting and Strengthening Tax Credits for Working Families

  • This year, Bread for the World’s Offering of Letters urges Congress to protect and strengthen key tax credits that help low-income working families in the United States. Programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit are critical to making sure that low-income working families have the resources they need to provide for their food and other basic needs.   
  • The White House has sent its FY2011 budget request to Congress. The budget request makes permanent the expansions to the EITC and the Child Tax Credit that were included in the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. These provisions increase EITC benefits for families with three or more children and make more low-income families eligible for benefits from the Child Tax Credit. The inclusion of these provisions is a strong indication of the president’s priorities as Congress begins to consider its budget resolution.     

Child Nutrition Reauthorization

On February 10, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack held a conference call with 1,400 advocates around the country to discuss the upcoming reauthorization of child nutrition programs.

Bread member Jennifer Sharp asked Secretary Vilsack what USDA is doing to address the “summer hunger gap” for children in South Carolina and around the country. In particular, Sharp asked Vilsack to provide more information about USDA’s efforts to find new ways to connect low-income children with meals in the summer.

A registered dietitian with South Carolina’s Greenville County schools, where nearly half the students receive free or reduced-price meals, Sharp said, “We need to be able to provide meals to more students through changes in the reauthorization act.”

Read more about Sharp’s work with child nutrition programs and her experience on the call.

  • Nationally, 19.4 million low-income children receive food assistance at lunch on an average school day, but only 11 percent of them access summer food program sites, leaving a gap of more than 17 million low-income children who are not served by summer programs.
  • Finding better ways to connect hungry children with food in the summer is a priority of Bread’s work on child nutrition reauthorization. Learn more about child nutrition programs and how you can influence this year’s reauthorization by visiting www.bread.org/childnutrition.

Foreign Assistance Reform 

  • On January 29, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) and ranking member Richard Lugar (R-IN) introduced their State Department authorization bill. If passed, the bipartisan legislation would provide authority, policy guidance, and operational oversight to the State Department for fiscal years 2010 and 2011.
  • The FY2011 budget request contains modest increases for the international affairs budget, including more than $1 billion in new funding for poverty-focused development assistance.
  • Within the budget request, the administration’s Global Hunger and Food Security and Global Health initiatives would receive much of the proposed increase in development assistance.    
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Local Oregon Center for Christian Values meeting 2/11 @ 7pm Apply now to become a hunger justice leader

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