Congressional Update 7/7/2010

July 8, 2010 at 6:28 am Leave a comment

Congressional Update during the 111th Congress

Inside Washington

  • Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) died June 28 at the age of 92. He was the longest-serving senator in history and twice held the position of Senate Majority Leader. 
  • Congress is on its Independence Day recess this week, returning to work in Washington July 12.

Bread’s Issues

Tax Credits for Low-Income Working Families

  • Congress is still debating what to do about the Dec. 31, 2010, expiration of tax cuts from 2001 and 2003 and of critical tax credits such as the expansions made in 2009 to the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit.
  • Spending issues took up most of Congress’ time just before the Independence Day recess and will continue to be a major focus throughout the year.
  • Bread President David Beckmann was invited to testify before the President’s Fiscal Commission June 30, where he urged members to protect low-income families, particularly in difficult economic times, as they consider recommendations to balance the federal budget.

Child Nutrition Reauthorization

  • The House Education and Labor Committee held a hearing July 2 to build support for child nutrition reauthorization.
  • At the hearing, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack mentioned his recent meeting with faith leaders during Bread’s Lobby Day and noted the moral imperative of addressing child hunger. Setting aside his prepared remarks, he said there is “no more important role or responsibility I have than what I’m talking about here today.” He emphasized that tens of millions of children could benefit from the reauthorization and urged Congress to pass a bill this year. 
  • The committee has not yet scheduled when to mark up the bill but will do so sometime in July. Please visit www.bread.org for updates.

2011 Budget and Appropriations

  • The House Appropriations Committee has begun considering 12 individual appropriations bills for discretionary spending. The Senate Appropriations Committee is likely to take up its appropriations bills once Congress returns to Washington next week.
  • The House State/ Foreign Operations subcommittee cut about $4 billion from the president’s proposed budget. Even so, some accounts received modest increases while many others were funded at or slightly below their FY10 levels.
  • The House Agriculture subcommittee voted to increase funding for the McGovern-Dole nutrition program by 27 percent over FY10 funding levels. The subcommittee continued to fund the Food for Peace program at its FY10 level.

Global Food Security

  • The Global Food Security Trust Fund announced the first disbursement of grants to five countries for a total of $224 million.
  • The initial recipient countries are Bangladesh, Haiti, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Togo. The grants focus on raising the productivity of smallholder farmers.

Act Now

  • Congress is crafting tax legislation that is critical to low-income working families. Ask your members of Congress to make sure the current Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit levels are made permanent. 
  • If Congress fails to preserve the Child Tax Credit at its current level, a full-time working parent receiving the minimum wage will receive only a $320 credit instead of the current $1,800 credit. The difference—$1,480—is a modest amount of money that has a big impact on the lives of families struggling to make ends meet. 
  • If the EITC and Child Tax Credit are not continued at current levels, 1.5 million people will fall below the poverty line, including 800,000 children.  
Sen. _____
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510
 and   Rep. _____
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121
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Entry filed under: Legislative Updates.

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