In the coming weeks, Congress will vote on a reauthorization of the Farm Bill, a key piece of legislation that governs agriculture and food assistance in the United States. But, the initial draft of the 2018 Farm Bill written by Representative Mike Conaway, the Republican chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, looks more like an attempt to further undermine Americans struggling to make ends meet. The largest and most problematic changes involve SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, a program that helps more than 40 million Americans put food on the table. The bill’s changes would dramatically cut SNAP eligibility, including by making SNAP’s work requirements even harsher, causing more than 2 million people—particularly in low-income working families with children—to lose SNAP or face lower benefits.
These changes are particularly appalling because they come mere months after members of Congress gave themselves and their wealthy friends and donors a massive tax cut. Now, we’re seeing the consequences of that decision: In an effort to pay for their $1.9 trillion tax law, the congressional majority wants to cut food assistance for those who need it most. In fact, some members of the congressional majority stand to gain $1 million or more from just one provision in the tax scam, the #CorkerKickback. Their million-dollar gains could pay for meals for 6.2 million Americans who are struggling to afford healthy food.
Stay tuned to our Twitter, @CAPAction, and like us on Facebook, as we’ll be sharing state-specific numbers for key districts in the next few days—as well as ways to take action!
ACTION OF THE DAY
Bass Pro Shops. This weekend, the National Rifle Association (NRA) will host its annual conference in Dallas, and Trump will be one of the keynote speakers. One of the vendors that will have a booth at this year’s convention? Bass Pro Shops. Yes, the same Bass Pro Shops that remains the only major retailer of assault weapons. Demand they stop selling weapons of war by signing our petition! And contact them to let them know that their continued support of the NRA is shameful.
#CultureOfCorruption. Yesterday, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds “appointed her 78-year-old father and several other Republican donors and activists to panels that will vet and recommend finalists for judicial vacancies.” Across the country, we have seen the judiciary system under attack by right-wing extremists and some senators who refuse to abide by the long-standing blue slip rule. This latest move in Iowa underscores the danger posed to the fairness of the courts, as nepotism and political party takes precedence over qualified people to oversee such as crucial task. As state Senator Nate Boulton said, “Judicial appointments are serious matters and should be free from any impression that a governor had undue influence in the process.”
Fighting Back. Today, three groups announced they are filing suits over the Trump administration’s changes to the federal Title X program that they argue “will put the health of millions of low-income patients at risk by prioritizing practices such as the rhythm method over comprehensive sexual health services.” The groups—Planned Parenthood, the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, and the ACLU—are specifically concerned over guidance from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that undermines the effectiveness of contraception in favor of “natural family planning.” This isn’t the only push to protect women’s reproductive rights, as states across the country, including Tennessee and Nebraska, are trying to block funds for Planned Parenthood.
UNDER THE RADAR
Righting Past Wrongs. North Carolina is the birthplace of the modern environmental justice movement in the U.S. In 1982, hundreds of Afton, NC residents laid down in the street in front of dump trucks loaded with PCB-contaminated soil to protest policies that sacrificed their community’s health for the benefit of others. In North Carolina, communities of color and low-income communities have long struggled with high levels of toxic air, water and soil pollution and other environmental degradation due to destructive energy and agricultural industry practices. In an effort to right past environmental justice wrongs, today, the Secretary of North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality, Michael Regan, launched an Environmental Justice and Equity Advisory Board led by 16 community leaders and justice advocates. The board will advise Secretary Regan on ensuring that all people in North Carolina, regardless of race, income, culture, religion or zip code, have access to clean air, clean water, clean soil and have the opportunity to weigh in on the design and implementation of environmental and public health protections. North Carolina becomes one of the only southern states, alongside Virginia, to launch an environmental justice advisory board.