Washington Update: Week of March 27

March 28, 2017
Washington Update

Affordable Care Act

  • Last week was health care week on the Hill. House Speaker Paul Ryan planned for the House to vote on the GOP replacement to the ACA on Thursday but realized that he did not have the votes to pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA). President Trump and House leadership went back to the negotiating table with the far-right Freedom Caucus and determined that they would remove the 10 “essential health benefits” from the ACA in the new GOP bill.
  • This, combined with lots of grassroots outrage/activism, led to many moderates switching from being a “yes” vote to a “no.”
  • Ultimately, the AHCA was pulled from the floor late Friday afternoon, March 24, after Ryan told President Trump that they did not have the votes to pass it.
  • There are many reasons why this bill failed--- but grassroots activism, calls, and in-district meetings and town halls seemed to be the main driver of caution within the Republican caucus. For now, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act are intact. YOU DID IT!

Budget & Appropriations

  • After failing to bring the American Health Care Act to a vote on the House floor, House Republicans are now turning their attention to crafting a fiscal year 2018 budget resolution - a needed step to ease passage of the party’s tax overhaul proposals.
  • Prior to the health bill’s demise, the House Budget Committee was not expected to mark up a fiscal 2018 budget resolution until May. House Republicans still need to finish up the fiscal year 2017 appropriations process by passing a federal government funding bill by April 28.
  • Budget hearings continue this week in the House.

Immigration

  • We are still urging Republicans in both the House and Senate to co-sponsor the BRIDGE Act (HR.496/S.128).
  • The BRIDGE (Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy) Act would protect undocumented young adults who qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
  • Many of these individuals, commonly referred to as “DREAMers,” were brought to the U.S. as children. The law would allow DREAMers to legally work and study in the U.S.

SNAP/Farm Bill

  • The House Committee on Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition will hold a hearing Tuesday, March 28 at 2 p.m. called “The Next Farm Bill: The Future of SNAP.” Witnesses have not yet been publicly announced but will be posted here along with a link to the live webcast at 2 p.m.

Act Now!

Last week, advocates wrote to their senators asking them to do the right thing and reject funding cuts to lifesaving foreign assistance.

Looks like they were listening. U.S. Sens. Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Todd Young (R-IN) are now circulating a letter for others senators to sign onto that supports robust funding for the fiscal year 2018 International Affairs Budget. As the world faces the largest humanitarian crisis since 1945, now is not the time to cut these lifesaving programs.

Call (800-826-3688) your senator today, and tell them to sign the Young/Durbin letter supporting International Affairs funding.

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