Heritage Sentinel Call Notes, May 14th, 2018
Last week we unveiled a rescissions countdown clock at heritageaction.com/countdown. As of today, (5/14/18) Congress has a little over 38 days to act. It’s important that we continue to get House members to publicly push the issue so we can build momentum. That will help apply pressure for the Senate to take it up after the House passes it. Only by cutting the slush fund will we be successful in draining the swamp!
The rescission request focuses on “unobligated balances”—money previously appropriated but not yet spent. This is an important move for two main reasons:
- We’re taking away Congressional “funny money.” Once rescinded, Congress cannot use this $15 billion as “pay-fors”—redirecting unspent money from an old program to a new program.
- We’re building legislative muscle memory. This is not the first time we’ve needed Sentinels to educate lawmakers, staff, and even press on how a process works. Remember 2015 budget reconciliation? The goal here is to develop legislative muscle memory and then come back at the new spending.
Find out if Representative Meadows and Senator Tillis and Senator Burr will support this rescission package when it comes up for a vote, and to hold strong on any attempts to lower the amount of spending cuts. The clock is ticking.
Our other priority for the week is the Farm and Food Stamp Bill. The Heritage Foundation just released a new brief this afternoon showing that the current version of the Farm Bill (H.R. 2) fails to create effective and reasonable work requirements within the food stamp program (SNAP). As written, the bill requires only 20% of work-capable adults to be working or preparing to work in order to be eligible for the SNAP program.Members of Congress need to be hearing that they should include Heritage’s recommendations to improve the wellbeing of the poor: encouraging work in a way that compliments rather than competes with parental marriage.
Let me know if you have questions about these or the other policies discussed below. Please message me back with the response you receive from Representative Meadows and Senator Tillis and Senator Burr offices. Feel free to share this information with other conservatives as well!
Melody Himel Clarke
Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator
Follow us on Twitter: @Heritage_Action and me, @TheRightMelody.
Congress has several deadlines coming up before the Memorial Day recess, so this will be a busy week! Dan Holler provided an update on several key fights. You can watch the recording of the call by clicking here or by joining the Heritage Action Sentinel Nation facebook group.
Rescissions—President Trump’s first rescission recommendation (H.R. 3) went after $15.4 billion in unobligated, unspent, and expired funds. We expect the House to vote on this most basic fiscal housekeeping next week so the Senate can take it up after Memorial Day recess and send to the President before time runs out. If you need ideas on what you can do, visit the Rescissions Toolkit here.
Farm Bill—President Trump is hugely supportive of expanding work requirements, including in the food stamp program. The current version of the House farm bill does contain minor improvements to existing work requirements, but we need to have robust work requirements by doing the following:
- Congress should close the work requirements gap. According to the Heritage Foundation, only 2.1 million jobless but work-capable adults on food stamps are subject to work requirements. That population should be closer to 7 million;
- States should reduce work requirement exemptions from fifteen percent to five percent of their populations; and
- Geographic waivers should go. Work requirements also include job training and community service, so even individuals living in high-unemployment districts should not be exempt. There is dignity in all forms of work.
The timeline for legislative activity will likely be:
- Manager’s amendment text likely released today (Tuesday);
- Heritage Act ion ke y votes on several amendments on issues ranging from strengthened work requirements, agriculture subsidies, and environmental regulations;
- House rules committee consideration Tuesday night and Wednesday;
- House debate Wednesday, amendments on Thursday and Friday morning; and
- Senate committee consideration in about 10 days.
Military ESAs and NDAA—The best strategy for passing the Education Savings Accounts for Military Families Act (H.R. 5199) will be as an amendment to the NDAA. With the Rules Committee deciding which amendments will be made in order, we need to build momentum by increasing cosponsorships. The greater number of co-sponsorships, the greater chance Military ESAs will be made in order, get a floor vote, and pass. We need your help. Call your member today! Here’s a helpful FAQ sheetwhen talking to your Representative, as well as the current list of cosponsors.
Keep up the good work!