Congressional Outlook: What We’re Watching this Fall

Congress has kicked off their fall legislative session with a packed agenda and not many legislative days to accomplish it. Federal funding, judicial nominations, the Farm Bill, possibly legislation to address the opioid crisis are just a few of the priorities competing for limited floor time. 1,000 Days is paying particular attention to a few key issues that are critical for moms, children and families:

Federal Funding
Funding for the federal government expires on September 30, giving Congress just a handful of legislative days to agree to Fiscal Year 2019 spending packages—or to pass a short-term patch. If the House and Senate cannot reach an agreement, there is the potential for a federal government shut down.  1,000 Days is carefully watching and providing feedback as it relates to funding for programs that support moms and their families in the U.S., as well as programs that prevent malnutrition in women and children in developing countries. We will continue to urge Congress to make the needed investments that moms, babies, and their families need to thrive.

Farm Bill
Both the House and the Senate have passed their separate versions of the Farm Bill. The House version includes deep and profoundly negative changes to SNAP that will harm families’ ability to purchase the food they need. The bipartisan Senate version includes small, commonsense changes to SNAP, which are supported by 1,000 Days and the broader nutrition community.

The bipartisan Conference Committee – comprised of 56 members of the House and the Senate – is now working to find a compromise between the two versions. 1,000 Days strongly large supports the Senate version of the Farm Bill and, in partnership with other advocates and experts, will urge rejection of the House’s harmful cuts and instead to move forward with changes that protect access to nutrition assistance.

The Farm Bill also authorizes several international food security programs, which help millions of people around the world survive malnutrition.  1,000 Days has called on the Conference Committee to retain important provisions from the House and Senate bills that would improve and strengthen the programs, allowing them to reach more beneficiaries in more effective ways.

Read 1,000 Days letter to the Conference Committee.

Comprehensive Health Insurance
Comprehensive coverage and protections for people with pre-existing conditions remains at risk. A legal challenge in the Texas Federal District Court, legislation offered by several Republican Senators, and continued regulatory action by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) could have a terrible outcome: making comprehensive coverage much more expensive and allowing insurers to charge more or deny coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Many will remember when being a woman, having a child, or being of childbearing age were considered “pre-existing conditions” – we cannot go backwards.

1,000 Days will continue to amplify the voices of moms across the country by advocating for the consumer protections families need to access comprehensive, affordable health care.

Paid Leave
Over the summer, Senator Rubio offered token legislation that does little to achieve the goal of a national paid leave program for all. Meanwhile, new research shows the strong support for paid leave among the American public. 1,000 Days will continue to advocate for a national paid leave policy that supports new moms and their families. We urge Congress to enact legislation that achieves that goal.