Washington Update: Week of August 7

August 9, 2017
Washington Update

The Senate left for August recess last week. Congress will reconvene after Labor Day, Sept. 5. Fresh Bread will resume a week after Congress reconvenes.

Budget & Appropriations

  • September will be a critical time for Bread for the World's 2017 Offering of Letters: Doing Our Part to End Hunger. Congress will have until the end of September to raise the debt limit, finalize yearly spending (appropriations) bills, and pass a bipartisan budget deal that raises the yearly spending caps on defense and non-defense spending.
  • The Senate is expected to be pressing forward on a 2018 budget resolution in committee in September, but House Republicans remain divided over cuts to entitlement programs.
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wants to use the new budget for a tax-code overhaul this fall using a procedure that bypasses the need for a supermajority. The quickest way forward would be for the Senate to mark up its own budget after recess rather than waiting for the House to send one over.
  • The Senate is also expected to take up the State/Foreign Operations appropriations bill in committee in early September. The bill appears to currently have bipartisan support.
  • As for the debt ceiling, House Freedom Caucus continues to push for spending cuts to be attached to a $1.5 trillion debt ceiling increase. The estimated three dozen caucus members would likely vote against a clean debt ceiling increase. It's possible that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will need to work with Democrats on a clean increase.


  • Last week Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the chair and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, called for an open bipartisan hearing on health care. Since Congress failed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, some senators and representatives are now working on a bipartisan basis to address concerns with the health insurance markets.


  • The Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment or RAISE Act (S. 354), introduced by Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.), will drastically reduce legal immigration to the United States. The RAISE Act will cap refugee admissions and cut total immigration in half by eliminating diversity and cutting family-based visas. It will also create a new visa system that awards points to potential immigrants based on such characteristics as English proficiency and higher education.
  • It will also create additional barriers to immigrants seeking to become naturalized Americans, and preventing those who have used health care or other help with basic needs from becoming citizens and penalizing their sponsors. By punishing families for simply needing health care and other support, the proposal directly contradicts Bread for the World's immigration principles.
  • We will not support the RAISE Act. Neither will we support it as a legislative vehicle to pass the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (Dream) Act or to bypass protections currently provided for in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Act.

Act Now!

Members of Congress have returned to their home states and districts, leaving behind unfinished business such as the budget for fiscal year 2018. What lawmakers hear from constituents like you this month will impact the decisions they make.

Engage your lawmakers while they're home for August recess! Visit Bread for the World's Activist Corner for the latest updates and resources.



from our Resource Library

For Education

  • The Nourishing Effect

    Hunger and food insecurity add at least $160 billion a year to U.S. healthcare costs.

  • Mass Incarceration: A Major Cause of Hunger

    Mass incarceration has far-reaching effects in the United States. It poses a significant barrier to ending U.S. hunger and poverty by 2030—a goal the United States adopted in 2015. But the connection is not always obvious.

  • Advancing Nutrition through Food Aid Reform

    The United States has long been a global leader in responding to humanitarian emergencies. Food assistance that includes nutritious food for pregnant women and young children is both a life-and-death matter for individuals and an economic imperative for countries.

For Faith

  • 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...

  • In Times Like These … A Pan-African Christian Devotional for Public Policy Engagement

    This devotional guide invites deepened relationship with and among Pan-Af­rican people and elected leaders in the mission to end hunger and poverty.

  • Sermon by David Beckmann at Duke University Chapel

    Remarks delivered October 1, 2017 at Duke University Chapel in Chapel Hill in North Carolina.

    Thank you for inviting me to preach here at Duke University Chapel. And I especially want to thank the Bread for the World members who have come this morning.

    Bruce Puckett urged...

For Advocacy

  • Grassroots Advocacy Toolkit

    A set of how-to sheets for carrying out advocacy and fact sheets on the current issues Bread for the World is working on.

    For new and current Bread grassroots hunger activists.

    Ideal as a starter toolkit for new Bread activists or as a set of updates for current activists.


  • Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017

    Unnecessarily long prison sentences, combined with the lack of rehabilitative programs for people in prison, exacerbate hunger, poverty, and existing inequalities.

    Overly harsh mandatory minimum prison sentences have contributed to the rapid increase of our country’s prison population. The...

  • Health Care Is a Hunger Issue

    Learn more about the principles that Bread for the World supports regarding health reform.