Income Support – Senate Agriculture Committee Releases Draft Farm Bill; Schedules Markup

Last week, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry released draft text of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. The draft represents the Committee’s bipartisan proposal to reauthorize the Farm Bill, which establishes farm policies and programs and nutrition programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The Committee has scheduled a meeting to review and vote on the bill on Wednesday, June 13. Visit the Committee web site for more information and live video the day of the hearing.

Income Support – House Defeats Farm Bill with SNAP Cuts

On May 18, the House of Representatives defeated the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R.2), more commonly known as the “Farm Bill,” by a vote of 198-213. If passed, this bill would have caused significant cuts to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or “Food Stamp” benefits and dramatically expanded work requirements. New job training programs would be paid for by cuts in SNAP which would be insufficient to meet the need created by the work requirements. In total, the bill would have caused an estimated 2 million people to lose their SNAP benefits. For more information, read The Arc’s official statement.

Income Support – House Committee Advances Farm Bill with Cuts to Food Assistance Program

Last week, the House Agriculture Committee approved the Agriculture and Nutrition Assistance Act of 2018 (H.R.2), also known as the “Farm Bill,” which reauthorizes farm programs and policy as well as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The bill proposes deep cuts to food assistance under SNAP: an estimated 2 million people would lose their SNAP food assistance or see their benefits reduced, over 10 years. The Committee vote set the stage for the bill to advance to the House floor; a date for a vote on the bill by the full House has not yet been set. The Senate has not yet announced its plans for the Farm Bill reauthorization. Visit the House Agriculture Committee YouTube channel for archived video of the markup. The Arc opposes this legislation.

Income Support – House Committee to Mark Up Farm Bill; Cuts to Food Assistance Proposed

Last week, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) released a draft of the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2), also known as the “Farm Bill,” to reauthorize farm programs and policy as well as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). On net, the Chairman’s draft bill proposes deep cuts to food assistance under SNAP: an estimated 2 million people would lose their SNAP food assistance or see their benefits reduced. On Wednesday, April 18, the House Agriculture Committee will mark up the Chairman’s proposed bill. Visit the Committee’s web site for live video the day of the hearing. The Arc opposes this legislation.

Income Support – President Issues New Executive Order on “Economic Mobility”

Last week, President Trump issued an Executive Order on “Economic Mobility.” The order requires the Secretaries of the Treasury, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, and Education to review their programs and, within 90 days, identify steps and recommendations to establish or expand work requirements in their programs. In response, The Arc’s CEO, Peter V. Berns, said, “If you read between the lines of this executive order, it is a blueprint for sweeping changes that penalize people who are unemployed, across multiple programs. From Medicaid, to housing, to food assistance and other programs – this will result in new barriers to eligibility and denial of critical services. The call for increased economic opportunity is not backed up with provision of tools for individuals to succeed.” Read The Arc’s full statement.

Social Security/Income Support – Bill to Cut Social Security, SSI Introduced in House

Reps. Kristi Noem (R-SD) and Sam Johnson (R-TX) have introduced legislation to bar payment of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits to people with an outstanding arrest warrant for an alleged felony or for an alleged violation of probation or parole (H.R. 2792). This would revive an old, failed policy that had catastrophic effects for many people with disabilities and seniors, employing procedures that did not withstand judicial scrutiny. This bill would not change existing policies and procedures, which already bar payments to people fleeing from law enforcement and direct the Social Security Administration to exchange information about fugitive felons and probation or parole violators with law enforcement. Instead, the bill would primarily affect people whose cases are inactive and whom law enforcement is not pursuing; most of the warrants in question are decades old and involve minor infractions. Cutting off benefits will not help resolve warrants – but will threaten the means of survival of hundreds of thousands of Social Security and SSI beneficiaries. The Arc strongly opposes this bill. Learn more from the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities.

Social Security/Income Support – The Arc Releases Video on Proposed Social Security Disability Program Cuts

The Arc has released a new video on the proposed $72.4 billion cuts to Social Security disability programs, and its contrast to President Trump’s promise to save Social Security without cuts. The video features Will, a child with a disability who relies on Supplemental Security Income to pay for his seizure medication, and Heather, who needed Social Security Disability Insurance when she was unable to work due to her cancer. Please share this videowidely with your networks to show the impact of cutting Medicaid and repealing major health care protections. For an especially easy option,retweet The Arc of the US and share our Facebook post.

Income Support – Special Needs Trust Fairness Act Clears House Committee

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce approved the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act (H.R.670) on July 13. This bill will allow individuals to establish special needs trusts on their own behalf. Due to a technical drafting error when the Medicaid statute was modified in 1993, current law only allows a parent, grandparent, legal guardian, or a court to establish a Special Needs Trust for an individual. This leads to unnecessary legal expenses for eligible individuals who do not have a guardian or a living parent or grandparent. The Senate approved its version, S.349 in September of 2015.

Income Support – Senate Holds Hearing on Renewing Communities and Providing Opportunities Through Innovative Solutions to Poverty

Last week, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs held a hearing on “Renewing Communities and Providing Opportunities Through Innovative Solutions to Poverty.” Witnesses were Robert Woodson, Founder and President, Center for Neighborhood Enterprise; Peter L. Ochs, President of Capital II, Inc.; Ron Haskins, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Brookings Institute; and Olivia Golden, Executive Director, Center for Law and Social Policy. Visit the Committee web site to review testimony and archived video.