Washington Update: Week of June 19

June 21, 2017
Washington Update

Budget & Appropriations

  • Despite initial reports that the House Budget Committee would release and consider a budget resolution this week, the committee has delayed that action for now.
  • This increases the possibility that the House will not consider a budget resolution until after the Fourth of July recess.
  • The House and Senate appropriations committees are moving forward with fiscal year 2018 spending bills. The House has already marked up one spending bill – the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs bill.  They are expected to work through bills quickly and could attempt to pass an omnibus spending package this summer.
  • The Senate is working at a slower pace. Without a budget resolution outlining topline funding numbers, the appropriations committee is working based on the Budget Control Act, which placed budget caps on the federal government for a decade (ending in fiscal year 2021). The committee is continuing hearings on the Trump administration’s budget proposal and is expected to start marking up spending bills after the Fourth of July recess.
  • We are also tracking the possibility of a debt ceiling deal and a possible bipartisan budget deal to lift the spending caps currently in place under the Budget Control Act. The federal government hit its borrowing limit this March and the Treasury Department has been relying on accounting maneuvers to keep spending under the current ceiling of $20 trillion.
  • Congress is responsible for raising the debt ceiling, and in recent years, that decision has become a political bargaining chip. Congress could move on the debt ceiling before August recess as well and it could be an opportunity to pass a deal that lifts spending caps on discretionary spending (which includes programs like WIC, summer EBT, global nutrition, and international development assistance). 

Immigration

  • The Department of Homeland Security announced last week that it will continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The program protects undocumented youth immigrants, those who came to the U.S. illegally as children, from deportation and provides them with work permits so they can find legal employment.
  • At the same time, the Trump administration formally ended the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, a program initiated by President Obama. DAPA would have deferred deportations for the undocumented parents of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents who have been in the U.S. since before 2010. DAPA had been stalled in the courts and not implemented.
  • The preservation of DACA is an important victory and an opportunity to promote full inclusion of new Americans and their families. And the ending of DAPA—though it has no immediate legal effect—highlights the continued harm that flawed immigration enforcement policies can inflict.

American Health Care Act

  • This week, the Senate is narrowing down what their version of the American Health Care Act will look like. We still expect for the Senate to vote on a bill before the Fourth of July recess. We also believe that the Senate GOP currently does not have the votes to pass this “secret” bill. 
  • The rollback of the Medicaid expansion and structure of the per-capita-cap are preventing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) from moving the bill to the Senate floor.
  • We are urging Bread members to call and email their senators and tell them to OPPOSE any cuts or restructuring of Medicaid within the AHCA. Senators representing Medicaid expansion states and states with older and more rural populations will be key, possible swing votes on this bill.
  • The Senate offices include: Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Dan Sullivan (Alaska), Rob Portman (Ohio), James Lankford (Okla.), Todd Young (Ind.), Susan Collins (Maine), Dean Heller (Nev.), Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Bill Cassidy (La.), and Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.).

Act Now!

The Senate is quietly working to bring their health care bill to the floor for a vote. We need you to make some noise about the lifesaving importance of health care and Medicaid. Call (800-826-3688) or email your senators today. Tell your senators to oppose the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and cuts to Medicaid. If the AHCA becomes law, 14 million people will lose Medicaid!

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