Congressional Update 9/15/2010

September 15, 2010 at 7:18 am Leave a comment

  

Congressional Update during the 111th Congress

Inside Washington

  • Both houses of Congress returned to work in Washington this week. The Senate is scheduled to be in session until October 8. The House is expected to adjourn by October 1. Congress is expected to return for a “lame duck” legislative session after the November 2 elections.
  • Bread President David Beckmann was a featured speaker at the National Press Club yesterday, September 13, on the topic “Ending Hunger: The People and Congress.” He laid out the priorities for poor and hungry people that Congress must address. It was televised live by C-SPAN.
  • For the second year in a row, Bread for the World’s director of government relations, Monica Mills, has been named one of The Hill newspaper’s Top Lobbyists of 2010 for effective advocacy. The award is a tribute to her and to all of Bread’s activists, who do the grassroots anti-hunger lobbying that makes our legislative victories possible. Congratulations!

Bread’s Issues

Tax Credits for Low-Income Working Families

  • The current Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit benefit levels that Bread is working to make permanent are part of a tax package that includes the Bush era tax cuts.
  • The contentious congressional debate over whether to extend these 2001 and 2003 tax cuts is now front-page news. We expect that whatever portion of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts Congress extends, it will also contain the EITC and Child Tax Credit improvements as part of the package.
  • If Congress only extends the current EITC and Child Tax Credit benefit levels for an additional year or two, this could spell trouble for making the improvements permanent for two reasons. First, the provision to exempt the EITC and Child Tax Credit from “pay-as-you-go” cost offset rules is only in effect for this year. Second, the long-term budget outlook will only worsen as time goes on.

Child Nutrition Reauthorization

  • Child nutrition reauthorization bills have now passed the full Senate and the House Education and Labor Committee. The current law expires September 30, 2010.
  • Bread supports the House committee version (H.R. 5504, the Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act). This bill is a better reflection of Bread’s priorities of increasing access and participation for low-income children, particularly at breakfast, after school, and during the summer months.
  • The Senate bill (S. 3307, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010) is partially paid for by cuts to future SNAP/food stamp benefits. Bread strongly opposes paying for essential child nutrition programs by taking resources from another critical nutrition program (which itself benefits nearly 20 million U.S. children).

Poverty-Focused Development

  • From September 20-22, the United Nations will host a summit in New York on the progress of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). President Obama will attend, along with about 100 other heads of state.
  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Ireland’s Foreign Minister, Peter Power, will co-host an event focused on maternal and child nutrition. Bread President David Beckmann will be the sole American NGO speaker at the event, September 21. He will emphasize the importance of nutrition as a top priority of both hunger and agriculture initiatives.

FY11 International Affairs Appropriations

  • The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved the FY11 State-Foreign Operations appropriations. The bill provides a total funding level of $54.1 billion — about $2.5 billion less than the president’s request.
  • It is unlikely that either the Senate or the House will take further action on the FY11 international affairs budget until after the November elections. Instead, Congress is likely to pass a “continuing resolution” to fund government operations from the beginning of the fiscal year (October 1, 2010) through the elections. Continuing resolutions usually fund programs at the previous fiscal year’s levels.

ACT NOW

  • Congress is now debating child nutrition legislation that is critical in connecting hungry kids to available programs at breakfast, after school, and during the summer. Ask your members of Congress to pass the House version of child nutrition reauthorization by September 30.
  • Currently, of the 19.4 million children receiving free and reduced-priced lunches at school, only about 9 million receive breakfast and only 12 percent have access to a summer feeding site.
  • If Congress fails to reauthorize these child nutrition programs, many critical program improvements targeted at closing the gap between lunch, breakfast, and summer food will not go into effect.
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.

Oregon Food Bank Action alert on Tanf emergency fund Action alert – Renew the childhood nutrition programs (oregon food bank)

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