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May 12, 2020--House Democrats are expected to vote on Friday on the Heroes Act, a $3 trillion spending package that would include $875 billion for state and local governments facing budget deficits; $20 billion for tribal nations and US territories; $25 billion for the US Postal Service; $100 billion in rental assistance and $75 billion in mortgage relief; stimulus checks for individuals; and funding for small businesses.
April 24, 2020—President Trump signed the latest stimulus package into law. This allocates $310 billion to replenish the Paycheck Protection Program, $60 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, $75 billion for hospitals and health systems, and $25 billion to expand COVID-19 testing.
April 23, 2020—The House approved $484 billion in relief funding for hospitals, testing, and small business loans.
April 22, 2020—The new relief package with funding for hospitals, testing, and small business loans has passed the Senate and is expected to pass the House on Thursday.
April 21, 2020—Congressional leaders have reached a deal with the White House on a $484 billion relief package that would increase funding for hospitals, testing, and the small business loan program. The Senate is expected to pass the bill on Tuesday.
April 16, 2020—California governor Gavin Newsom announced a $125 million plan to provide disaster relief funds to undocumented Californians.
April 15, 2020—A federal court struck down the US Department of Agriculture's 2018 school meal rule change that rolled back nutrition standards for sodium, whole grains, and dairy products.
April 2, 2020—House speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the creation of a new select committee to oversee the COVID-19 response and use of stimulus funds.
April 1, 2020—House Speaker Nancy Pelosi shared details about a five-year $750 billion infrastructure investment plan, modified from an earlier proposal released in January to include $10 billion in funding for community health clinics.
March 31, 2020—The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are considering recommending that Americans wear masks in public to limit transmission of COVID-19.
March 29, 2020—President Trump extended physical distancing guidelines through April 30.
March 27, 2020—President Trump signed the $2 trillion bipartisan emergency spending bill (described in detail below) this afternoon.
March 26, 2020—After days of negotiations the Senate has passed a $2 trillion bipartisan deal as part of phase 3 of the federal coronavirus response. The House will take up the bill on Friday morning, March 27th. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (S. 3548) provides emergency healthcare and economic assistance for individuals, families, small businesses, and impacted industries, including:
$4.3 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support federal, state, and local public health agencies to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus, including:
$1.5 billion to support States, locals, territories, and tribes in their efforts to conduct public health activities
$1.5 billion in flexible funding to support CDC’s continuing efforts to contain and combat the virus;
$500 million for global disease detection and emergency response;
$500 million for public health data surveillance and analytics infrastructure modernization; and
$300 million for the Infectious Diseases Rapid Response Reserve Fund, which supports immediate response activities during outbreaks.
Workers, individuals, and family provisions:
Provides recovery checks of $1,200 for individuals earning up to $75,000 a year ($2,400 for joint returns with earnings up to $150,000) and $500 per child. Amounts gradually phase out for those earning up to $99,000 ($198,000 for joint returns)
Reforms and expands unemployment insurance, increasing maximum unemployment benefits by $600 per week and extending unemployment insurance at full pay from three months to four months. Ensures that workers, including those who work for small businesses or are self-employed and gig-economy workers, will be covered.
Incentivizes employers to keep workers on payroll by adding a retention tax credit.
Provides income tax exclusion for people who receive student loan repayment assistance from an employer.
State and community provisions:
Provides the following amounts to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus: $30 billion in emergency education funding; $25 billion in emergency transit funding; $45 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund, which funds state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, and nonprofits that provide critical disaster relief services; and $150 billion for a state, tribal, and local Coronavirus Relief fund.
Provides $100 billion in funding for hospitals and health systems, and more than $10 billion for the Indian Health Service.
Small business provisions:
Provides $10 billion in Small Business Administration emergency grants (up to $10,000) to address small business operating costs, and provides $17 billion for the Small Business Administration to cover existing SBA loans for six months.
Provides $500 billion in loans to impacts industries and ensures oversight, including establishing worker protections to accompany all federal loans for large employers; prohibiting businesses controlled by the President, Vice President, Congress members, or Cabinet members from receiving Treasury Department loans or investments; banning stock buybacks; requiring real-time public reporting of Treasury Department transactions under the Act; and creating a Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery position and Pandemic Response Accountability Committee to provide oversight of Treasury Department loans.
March 23, 2020—Procedural votes on the third phase of the COVID-19 response have failed in the US Senate, as of Monday evening, over differences in how to approach economic relief for individuals and families, and impacted industries. Democrats want more restrictions on how funds can be used by impacted industries and greater direct benefit for workers, and want greater aid and expansions in relief efforts, including access to paid sick leave, for individuals and families. Negotiations are ongoing. In the meantime, the House is putting forward their own COVID-19 response package.
March 19, 2020—Negotiations are currently underway on a Phase 3 economic relief package that seeks to inject over $1 trillion for industries and individuals. Proposals to date by the administration and both parties of Congress include: issuing two direct payments to Americans starting April 6; stimulus funding to impacted industries including airlines with requests by Democrats that those funds be targeted at workers and not for stock buy-backs or executive compensation; and efforts to further expand paid leave benefits for those that are not covered under Families First.
March 18, 2020— As Phase 2 of the federal response, President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) into law. The bill provides over $100 billion in paid sick leave for a segment of workers; mandates free diagnostic testing for the coronavirus; $ 1 billion to expand food assistance programs; expands unemployment benefits; and requires additional protections for healthcare workers. Here are some more details:
Provides an additional $500 million for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
Provides an additional $400 million for the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)
Provides an additional $100 million for nutrition assistance grants for U.S. territories
$250 million in supplemental funding for nutrition programs that assist the elderly
Allows nationwide school meal program waivers
Suspends Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) work requirements
Allows states to request waivers to provide emergency SNAP benefits
Require employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide 2 weeks of paid sick leave to employees (with further exemptions for businesses with fewer than 50 people if providing such leave jeopardizes the viability of the business)
Establishes a federal emergency paid leave benefits program of 12 weeks for businesses with fewer than 500 employees for employees taking unpaid leave due to the coronavirus outbreak
Expands unemployment benefits and provide grants to states for processing and paying claims
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) sent a request to Congress for an additional $46 billion in emergency supplemental funding for federal agencies to combat the coronavirus outbreak, including:
$8.3 billion for emergency response efforts through the Department of Defense
$16.6 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs
$11.5 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services
$3.2 billion for Homeland Security
$2 billion for FEMA’s disaster relief account
$3 billion for a new “unanticipated needs” account for OMB
$100 million to help schools respond to the outbreak
$400 million for homelessness assistance grants through HUD
OMB also requested to amend their FY21 Budget requests for front-line health agencies:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): The amendment requests a total FY 2021 funding level of $8,329,102,000 for CDC, which is $1,328,196,000 above the original FY 2021 Budget request.
National Institutes of Health's (NIH) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID): The amendment would increase the NIAID total funding level within the NIH to $5,885,470,000, which is $439,584,000 above the original FY 2021 Budget request.
March 13, 2020 - President Trump declared a national emergency in response to COVID-19 to increase the powers of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This allows HHS to waive certain requirements and bypass regulations in an effort to speed up the healthcare sectors ability to respond.
March 6, 2020 - As Phase 1 of the federal response, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020 (H.R. 6074) into law. This $8.3 billion emergency supplemental measure triggered the flow of cash to federal agencies and states working to combat a rising number of coronavirus cases in the U.S.
Other notable federal actions
The Public Charge Rule will not count towards COVID-19 testing, screening or treatment--USCIS Alert.
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement will focus its arrests and detention efforts on “public safety risks” and use alternatives to detention.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will suspend foreclosures and evictions for mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration until the end of April. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have also been ordered to suspend foreclosures and evictions for “at least 60 days”
January 31, 2020
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that they will begin implementing the "public charge" rule on February 24 (with an exception for the state of Illinois, where the rule change remains blocked by federal court).
January 27, 2020
The Supreme Court ruled that the Department of Homeland Security can move forward with a "public charge" rule to make it harder for immigrants who seek public assistance to gain legal status, while legal challenges to public charge continue.
January 24, 2020
The public health emergency declaration for the opioid crisis lapsed for nine days, after the Department of Health and Human Services failed to renew it on time.
The US Supreme Court declined to hear a legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act ahead of the 2020 election. Politico reports that a “coalition of blue states and the House of Representatives, which are defending the Affordable Care Act in the lawsuit, had pressed the high court to intervene after a federal appeals court last month refused to rule on the law’s constitutionality and sent the case back to a federal judge in Texas who had earlier issued a ruling knocking out the entire law.”
The Environmental Protection Agency finalized a rule change removing around half of US streams and wetlands from federal oversight, potentially exposing these water sources to pollution.
The US Department of Agriculture announced two new rules last week that will undermine school nutrition policies championed by Michelle Obama, including loosening requirements to serve fresh fruits and vegetables.
The administration is finalizing a plan that would let states convert a portion of Medicaid funding into block grants, a controversial proposal that critics warn would make it easier for states to cut aid to Medicaid recipients.
January 10, 2020
This week, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals denied the administration’s motion to allowthe public charge rules changes to go into effect while appeals move through the court system. That means the revised public charge rule remains under a nationwide injunction.
The administration introduced drastic changes to the National Environmental Policy Act, a 50-year-old law that requires construction projects that will have a significant impact on the environment to undergo an environmental impact review. The administration’s proposed changes would exempt many construction projects from this review and impose tight time constraints on the environmental impact review process.
December 20, 2019
The House and Senate have finally agreed upon and passed a $1.4 trillion FY2020 budget. The President is expected to sign the spending deal on Friday, December 20th before government funding runs out. Highlights include:
The Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health Program (REACH) gets an extra $4 million for additional awards.
The tobacco purchasing age has been raised to 21 (including for e-cigarettes).
For the first time in 20 years, there will be $25 million in funding for gun violence prevention research, evenly split between CDC and NIH
The Prevention Fund ($893,950,000) gets an increase of $49,750,000 over FY19
There will be $4 million for adverse childhood experiences to inform how adverse childhood experiences increase the risk of future substance use disorders, suicide, mental health conditions, and other chronic illnesses.
While several courts issued nationwide or state specific preliminary injunctions barring the public charge rule from taking effect on October 15th, only two nationwide injunctions issued by a New York district court remain in effect. Currently, the Second Circuit Court is deciding on the Administration’s appeal to lift those injunctions and will hold a hearing on Tuesday, January 7th, 2020. If they deny the government’s request, the nationwide injunction stands and the public charge rule remains blocked. In this scenario, the Trump administration is likely to ask the Supreme Court to lift the injunctions. If the Second Circuit instead lifts the preliminary injunction, the public charge rule will take effect (either immediately, or at a future effective date.)
This week, a federal appeals court struck down the ACA’s individual mandate, finding it to be unconstitutional. Since the federal appeals court did not rule on the point of the overall constitutionality of the ACA yesterday, the case now gets remanded to the Texas district court judge. A coalition of Democratic attorneys general, lead by California AG Xavier Becerra, plan to appeal directly to the US Supreme Court.
December 4, 2019
The US Department of Agriculture finalized a new rule that will result in nearly 755,000 people losing access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The change blocks able-bodied adults without children from receiving food assistance for more than three months in any three-year period, unless they are engaged in at least 20 hours per week of approved employment activities. Read our comment letter opposing this change here.
November 22, 2019
On November 21, Congress passed and President Trump signed a continuing resolution to fund the government through December 20.
The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee approved a package of tobacco control legislation, sponsored by representatives Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Donna Shalala (D-FL) that would ban most flavored tobacco products (including e-cigarette cartridges), raise the tobacco purchasing age to 21, and ban online sales of nicotine products.
October 11, 2019
A federal judge blocked the implementation of a new "public charge" policy that would have denied legal residency to immigrants deemed likely to rely on public welfare. The policy change was scheduled to go into effect on October 15.
September 27, 2019
Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia) introduced legislation that would provide $75 million for five years to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to research factors that contribute to gun violence and ways to predict and intervene to prevent violence.
Both houses of Congress have approved a continuing resolution to fund the federal government through mid-November, likely averting a government shutdown. President Trump is expected to sign the continuing resolution.
September 20, 2019
Representatives Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Karen Bass (D-CA), Joaquin Castro (D-Tx), Judy Chu (D-CA), Tom Cole (R-Ok), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), and Robin Kelly (D-IL) introduced a resolution to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) program.
The House passed a continuing resolution to fund the federal government through November 21. The Senate is expected to pass this resolution next week.
California and 23 other states sued the administration after the Transportation Department and Environmental Protection Agency moved this week to jointly revoke a legal waiver that enables the state of California to set stricter standards for greenhouse gas emissions from vehicle tailpipes.
September 13, 2019
The Senate Appropriations Committee postponed a scheduled markup of the Fiscal Year 2020 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill due to disagreements about Title X family planning rule and money for the border wall. The markup date has not yet been rescheduled. Senate appropriators also approved all 12 subcommittee allocations today, in preparation to enter negotiations with the House.
Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family have tentatively reached a $10-12 billion settlement agreement with thousands of municipal, tribal, and state governments over the company’s role in the opioid epidemic.
This week, President Trump said the Food and Drug Administration will propose banning thousands of e-cigarette flavors from the market.
August 23, 2019
The Department of Homeland Security announced a new rule to enable the government to indefinitely detain migrant families who cross the border without documentation. This rule would replace the 22-year-old Flores Agreement that limits the amount of time the government can detain children and sets standards for children's care while in federal custody. The rule also eliminates the requirement that states license and monitor federal immigration detention centers. The rule will be published in the federal register on Friday, August 23, and is expected to go into effect 60 days later.California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that California will join other states in filing a legal challenge.
August 16, 2019
This week, the Department of Homeland Security finalized changes to the public charge rule that will make it much more difficult for immigrants from low-income backgrounds to gain permanent residency status in the US. Under this proposed rule change, immigration officials will weigh applicants' use of benefits like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, housing assistance, and Medicaid; income and financial status (under 125% of the federal poverty level will count as a negative factor, over 250% of the federal poverty level as a positive factor); age (being under the age of 18 or over the age of 61 will be counted negatively); education; and health status, with medical conditions deemed likely to require extensive treatment or institutional care, or to interfere with the immigrant’s ability to earn an income counting against the applicant. The rule change is currently scheduled to go into effect on October 15. So far, 13 states and two California counties have sued to block this rule change from going into effect.
August 2, 2019
A proposed rule change from the Department of Housing and Urban Development would make it much more difficult to bring discrimination claims under the Fair Housing Act by rolling back the Obama-era "disparate impact" rule.
This week, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee released a bill—America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019—to authorize $287 billion over five years for surface transportation projects. This bill includes funding for active transportation initiatives like Safe Routes to School and Complete Streets, public transit, and other transportation planning projects.
July 26, 2019
The USDA proposed changing the way states determine eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which could result in millions of people losing food assistance. Currently, states can waive income and asset limits and offer food assistance to households with incomes up to 200% of the federal poverty level, if those households face other expenses—like child care or rent—that leave them with too little money to buy food. Under the proposed rule change, a household’s gross income could not exceed 130% of the federal poverty level, regardless of other expenses a household needs to cover. The rule change would also eliminate food assistance for seniors and people with disabilities if their savings or assets exceed $3,500.
July 12th, 2019
President Trump announced on Thursday that the 2020 census will not include a citizenship question, and that the Commerce Department would be instructed to collect citizenship data by other means.
A lawsuit brought by 18 state attorneys general challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, Texas v. Azar, was heard by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals this week, after a 2018 ruling by a district court judge found the law unconstitutional on the grounds that the penalty associated with the individual mandate had been revoked.
June 28th 2019
This week, Senator Blumenthal of Connecticut and Representative Matsui of California introduced legislation to restore the Prevention and Public Health Fund to its original funding level of $2 billion per year.
The Senate HELP Committee approved the Lower Health Care Costs Act and sent the bill to the Senate floor. This bill would address surprise medical bills, increase cost transparency in the healthcare industry and drug supply chain, and raise the tobacco purchasing age to 21.
June 21st 2019
The House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties held a hearing on reparations for slavery and other forms of discrimination against African-Americans this week, featuring testimony from academics, advocates, and journalists.
A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine finds that Medicaid work requirements in Arkansas increased the uninsured rate and sowed confusion among Medicaid recipients, but did not boost employment, as proponents of work requirements claimed.
This week, the House passed the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019, which would create a path to citizenship for more than two million undocumented immigrants, including the Dreamers.
The Office of Refugee Resettlement announced that it will be canceling English-language classes, recreational opportunities, and legal assistance for unaccompanied children held in many federal migrant shelters, with Health and Human Services spokesman Mark Weber citing financial pressure and describing these activities as “not directly necessary for the protection of life and safety, including education services, legal services, and recreation.”
President Trump signed a memorandum calling on government agencies to enforce a 23-year-old law that requires US citizen sponsors of green-card holders to reimburse the government for welfare benefits.
Yesterday, the California State Assembly passed AB656, which would create a statewide Office of Healthy and Safe Communities.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development posted a proposed rule in the Federal Register on Friday, May 10, that would force mixed-status families to choose between continuing to receive housing assistance or live in public housing and continuing to live with family members who are not eligible for housing assistance.
A proposed rule change from the Office of Management and Budget would count fewer people as living below the official federal poverty line and thus disqualify millions of people living in poverty from accessing safety-net programs like Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and housing assistance, among other social programs.
The House Appropriations Committee approved FY 2020 plan to fund Labor and Health and Human Services, funding the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at $514 million (a $25 million increase over FY 2019 funding).
House Democrats requested more information on the Justice Department’s refusal to defend the Affordable Care Act against a legal challenge that threatens to invalidate the law as a whole.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and 14 Democratic co-sponsors introduced the fifth iteration of his Medicare for All proposal to implement single-payer healthcare in the US. Under the proposal, hospital visits, primary care, medical devices, lab services, maternity care, vision care, dental care, and prescription drugs would be covered for all US residents without a co-pay. This version also includes long-term care support for people with disabilities.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development chargedFacebook with violating the Fair Housing Act for allowing advertisers on their platform to screen viewers based on race, sex, religion, age, family status, disability, and neighborhood.
A federal judge blocked Medicaid work requirements in Arkansas and Kentucky, arguing that the Department of Health and Human Services' approval of work requirements failed to "consider adequately" the objective of Medicaid: to provide access to medical care.
On Monday, the Department of Justice issued a letter to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals arguing that the ruling of a Texas district court judge invalidating the Affordable Care Act as a whole should be upheld. This reverses the previous position by the Administration that only certain elements of the ACA should be struck down under the Texas ruling.
The White House released its 2020 budget proposal, including a $750.5 million cut to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention budget (more details here). That includes $236.5 million cut for programs under Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (including the elimination of the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health program), $146.3 million cut to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and a $52.4 million cut to Environmental Health programs including Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention, and $19.7 million in cuts to injury prevention programs. The President’s budget does include the Prevention and Public Health Fund at $893 million. As in past years the Budget proposes an overarching block grant approach for chronic disease as part of the America’s Health Block Grant.
Purdue Pharma, which manufactures OxyContin, and the Sackler family will pay $270 million to the state of Oklahoma to settle a lawsuit over Purdue’s role in the opioid crisis. Other opioid manufacturers have yet to settle with Oklahoma, and other litigation targeting Purdue Pharma and other pharmaceutical companies is moving forward.
The House voted this week to approve two gun-safety bills that would require background checks on all firearm sales, including private sales, online sales, and gun-show purchases, and extend the review period for background checks on firearm purchases
This week, the Senate confirmed Andrew Wheeler, a former coal industry lobbyist, to head the Environmental Protection Agency.
A National Academy of Sciences panel reported back with its findings on the costs of child poverty in the US and four pathways to reducing child poverty over the next 10 years. One proposal would increase the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and make the Child Care Tax Credit fully refundable (these two measures are part of all four proposals), as well as raising the minimum wage and expanding job-training programs. A second proposal would provide a $2,000 per year child allowance to all children under age 17 – a proposal that is projected to decrease child poverty by one-third in 10 years. A third proposal would increase Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits by 35% and increase access to Section 8 housing vouchers, which is projected to cut child poverty in half. The final proposal involves a bigger increase to the EITC than the other three proposals, raises the minimum wage to $10.25/hour, expands anti-poverty programs to documented immigrants who are currently not eligible, and includes a child allowance of $2,700/year, with an additional $1,200/year child support payment for single parents. The most expensive of these proposals tops out at $111.6 billion/year, far less than the estimated $1.1 trillion/year costs associated with child poverty.
The Department of Health and Human Services issued a rule that would bar organizations that provide abortions or refer patients for abortions from participating in Title X, a $286 million federal family planning program.
This week, Congress approved and President Trump signed a $333 billion spending package to fund the Environmental Protection Agency, Food and Drug Administration, and the departments of Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Agriculture, Commerce, Interior, Justice, State, and Homeland Security through September 30. This spending deal fell short of President Trump's demands for border wall funding, leading him to declare a national emergency at the US southern border to secure funding.
The Supreme Court agreed to expedite and hear the case of whether the Trump administration may add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.
The Trump administration's 2020 budget proposal is expected to be released by mid-March, after being delayed by the partial government shutdown.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey sponsored a resolution this week -- backed by 60 House Democrats and nine Senate Democrats -- outlining the principles of a Green New Deal, a 10-year plan to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.
During his State of the Union address this week, President Trump called for action on opioids, new research on childhood cancer treatments, and the eradication of HIV transmission in the US by 2030, promising that his administration's 2020 budget proposal would call for increased resources to address HIV.
Federal employees are back at work today, after a five-week partial government shutdown ended with a temporary agreement to fund the government on Friday.
The partial government shutdown passed the four-week mark on Friday, January 18. Native American tribes are experiencing sharp cutbacks to health services, education, housing, child welfare, maintenance of tribal lands, and economic development. Domestic violence shelters across the country are cutting services for survivors because they can’t access the funding they would normally receive from the Department of Justice. Over 800,000 federal workers are going without pay and are being forced to make difficult choices to cover their basic needs, unsure when they will receive their next paychecks. Routine food safety inspections have been cut back. Hundreds of inspections of water systems, chemical factories, power plants, oil refineries, and other industrial sites have been cancelled. More than 40,000 immigrants, many of whom have been waiting years to have their cases heard in immigration court, have had their hearings cancelled. More than 2,500 food retailers (and counting) are no longer able to accept food assistance benefits because their licenses were not renewed before the government shutdown. As government housing contracts expire, hundreds of thousands of tenants of low income are at risk of eviction. Other impacts range from delayed disaster relief to interrupted data collection on climate change and other health issues.
Week of January 5th - January 11th
California Governor Gavin Newsom introduced his first budget proposal this week, calling for increased investments in early childhood care and learning (including $750 million for all-day Kindergarten and a proposal to expand universal preschool to all low-income California children), healthcare (expansion of Medi-Cal eligibility and benefits, a proposal to create a single-payer system for prescription drugs), education, poverty (including doubling a tax credit available to low-income families), homelessness, expanded paid family leave, water safety, and other issues.
The partial shutdown of the federal government reached 21 days on Friday, affecting food programs, healthcare, and other services for Native American tribes; the National Park System; the Environmental Protection Agency, with has cut back on investigating environmental hazards; the Food and Drug Administration, which has ceased routine food-safety investigations; the National Transportation Safety Board; immigration caseloads; and more, with furloughed federal workers missing their first paycheck.
Week of December 29th - January 4th
The 116th Congress was sworn in this week, and Nancy Pelosi was elected as House Speaker. The freshman class in the US House of Representatives includes the largest number of women ever elected to Congress and a diverse cohort of new representatives, including the first two Native American women, the first two Muslim-American women, the first Korean-American woman ever to be elected to the US Congress, the first Latina representatives from the state of Texas, and the youngest women ever elected to Congress.
The government has been partially shut down for 14 days because of a dispute over the Administration’srequest for $5 billion in funding for a wall along the US-Mexico border. The Environmental Protection Agency ran out of funding this week, limiting the agency’s capacity to uphold clean water standards and regulate pesticides. Indian Health Service clinics that provide direct healthcare services to tribal communities remain open, but employees are going without pay, and tribal health programs and preventive health clinics have been suspended. The US House voted Thursday night on two bills to reopen the federal government, but these are not expected to be taken up by the Senate.
Sixteen Democratic-led states and the District of Columbia appealed a federal judge’s ruling to strike down the Affordable Care Act, arguing that the judge ignored Congress’ “clear intent” when he ruled that the elimination of the individual mandate penalty in 2017 invalidated the law as a whole.
The Senate confirmed Jim Carroll to serve as director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the first permanent head of this office under the current administration.
Week of December 22nd - 28th
The partial government shutdown enters its second week, with negotiation and action to reopen the government likely on hold until the next Congress convenes in January.
A second migrant child died in federal custody on Christmas Day, after the eight-year-old boy and his father were detained by US Customs and Border Control, transferred between various checkpoints and facilities not designed to safely house children, and held in detention for twice the amount of time the recommended for children. Felipe Alonzo Gomez was the second migrant child to die in the past month, after the death ofJakelin Caal Maquin, age 7. In response, the Department of Homeland Security has expanded health screenings of detained children, particularly young children under the age of 10.
A proposed plan would weaken the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to restrict hazardous pollutants emitted by coal-fired power plants by changing the way the EPA assesses the benefits of restricting pollutants to give less consideration to public health.
Week of December 16th - 21st
A federal judge struck down the Affordable Care Act as unconstitutional on the grounds that the elimination of the individual mandate as part of last year's tax reform package invalidates the law as a whole. The case was brought by 20 Republican governors and attorneys general. The Affordable Care Act remains in place as legal challenges proceed.
With funding for the Environmental Protection Agency, Food and Drug Administration, and the departments of Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Agriculture, Commerce, Interior, Justice, State, and Homeland Security set to run out on December 21, the potential for a partial government shutdown over the administration's demands for $5 billion in border wall funding looms.
Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced that his department will propose changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that could result in 755,000 people losing access to nutrition benefits. The proposed rule would limit the ability of states to waive work requirements for so-called “able-bodied adults without dependents” between the ages of 18 and 49, requiring that waivers could only be used where the county-level unemployment rate exceeded seven percent.
Week of December 9th - 15th
The US Senate and House passed a bipartisan Farm Bill this week, which President Trump is expected to sign next week. The current legislation does not include the strict work requirements for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients and the rollbacks of pesticide regulations that were included in earlier House versions of the bill.
The House and Senate have passed the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act that would fund state committees to investigate maternal deaths, with the goal of reducing maternal mortality, especially among women of color.
Click here to read PI's weekly media digest for the week of December 9th - 15th
Prevention Institute engages in legislative, administrative, and regulatory advocacy to support upstream prevention policies and investments that advance health, safety, and equity.
April 24th, 2020
Prevention Institute joined letters to Congress and the department of Health and Human Services led by the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum and Trust for America’s Health calling for collection and reporting of demographic data on COVID-19 patients, either in the next legislation or by agency action.
April 21, 2020
PI endorsed the Dear Colleague letter circulated by Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García to sign on as an original co-sponsor of the Health Equity and Accountability Act (HEAA) of 2020.
April 20th, 2020
Prevention Institute submitted a federal comment strongly opposing the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “Simplifying Meal Service and Monitoring Requirements in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs” proposed rule (85 FR 4094). If implemented, this rule would undermine efforts to improve the quality and nutritional value of foods served in schools.
April 15th, 2020
PI joined over 550 national, state and local organizations led by the Protecting Immigrant Families Campaign letter to congress urging an immigrant-inclusive COVID-19 response package.
April 14, 2020
Joined a letter to congress led by the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV) requesting urgent attention to the needs of intimate partner and sexual assault survivors, their children, and the programs that support them during the COVID-19 pandemic.
April 13th, 2020
PI joined over 175 organizations on the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity (NANA)’s request to Congress to address school meals, SNAP, WIC, and SNAP-Ed in the fourth COVID supplemental.
PI joined 160 other organizations in a letter led by TFAH, ASTHO, NACCHO and APHA in support of long-term funding for America's public health infrastructure.
April 1, 2020
PI joined a request in support of establishing a loan repayment program as part of a Phase 4 COVID-19 response for public health professionals who agree to serve two years in a local, state, or tribal health department, in order to help recruit and retain trained staff.
March 24, 2020
PI signed on to Team #MediaJustice’s campaign urging Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to take action for prison phone justice in COVID-19 relief efforts
March 20, 2020
PI and 87 other organizations signed on to a letter urging the Vice President and Congressional leadership to include funding to address current and future mental health and substance use needs.
PI and more than 630 others signed on to a letter to Congressional leadership calling for immigrants to be included in the COVID-19 3.0 relief package.
PI endorsed this Dear Colleague letter asking Congress to prioritize critically needed funding and resources for our nation’s immigrant population during the COVID-19 pandemic.
PI signed on in support of this letter calling on Congressional leaders to provide an additional $4.5 billion in funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state, local, tribal, and territorial health infrastructure to pay for such essential activities as disease surveillance, epidemiology, laboratory capacity, all-hazards preparedness and response; policy development and support; communications; community partnership development; and organizational competencies.
March 13, 2020
Along with fifty-five national public health organizations, PI signed this letter to call on Congress, the Trump Administration, and state legislators to pass paid sick leave legislation in response to the coronavirus.
March 9th, 2020
Prevention Institute submitted a federal comment strongly opposing the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s proposed changes to the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule which would severely weaken AFFH protections and in turn perpetuate the community disparities that result in health inequities.
This sign-on letter is being circulated by Prevention Institute, the Society of Public Health Educators, Trust for America’s Health, the YMCA, Asian Pacific Islander American Health Forum, the National REACH Coalition, and Public Health Institute, among others.
September 19, 2019
PI signed on to this amicus brief developed by the National Housing Law Project, the Food Research & Action Center, Center for Law and Social Policy, and other groups to oppose the administration's public charge rule. The amicus brief argues that changes to public charge will result in immigrants forgoing crucial public benefits that promote self-sufficiency and that by foregoing benefits, the end result will be greater housing instability, homelessness, hunger and illness.
September 18, 2019
In a letter to the US Department of Agriculture, PI strongly opposed the Food and Nutrition Service’s proposed rule to eliminate the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program’s broad-based categorical eligibility option.
Prevention Institute signed on to an amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court, concerning potential inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census and the risk of undercounting -- and thus under-representing and under-resourcing -- immigrant and Latino communities.
PI provided comments on the Healthy People 2030 Core, Developmental and Research Objectives.
November 9, 2018
PI submitted a public comment letter opposing proposed changes to the public charge rule. Read the letter here.
June 21st 2018
PI's joint letter with TFAH, APHA, NACCHO, PHI, and ASPPH urges the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to reunite the families who have been separated during the "zero tolerance" policy and provide the necessary health and mental health services to mitigate any long-term effects of adverse childhood experiences that children of these families may have experienced due to separation.
April 20th 2018
In support of the youth-led movement challenge to the status quo on guns, and renewed calls for action to address gun violence, Prevention Institute released an updated list of recommendations to prevent multiple forms of gun violence.
PI’s action alert applauds Senator Collins and Senator John McCain for speaking out against the Graham-Cassidy bill and the process that produced it.
PI and the leadership from the American Public Health Association, Public Health Institute, and Trust for America’s Health released a joint statement and call to action denouncing the Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill.
PI issues a call to thank Senator John McCain for standing up for an open, transparent, bipartisan path forward on healthcare
April 13th: PI joined over 175 organizations on the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity (NANA)’s request to Congress to address school meals, SNAP, WIC, and SNAP-Ed in the fourth COVID supplemental.
April 15th: PI joined over 550 national, state and local organizations led by the Protecting Immigrant Families Campaign letter to congress urging an immigrant-inclusive COVID-19 response package.
April 14: Joined a letter to congress led by the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV) requesting urgent attention to the needs of intimate partner and sexual assault survivors, their children, and the programs that support them during the COVID-19 pandemic.
April 21: PI endorsed the Dear Colleague letter circulated by Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García to sign on as an original co-sponsor of the Health Equity and Accountability Act (HEAA) of 2020.
The coronavirus crisis exposes our society’s weaknesses. It’s time to correct them—by embracing our interdependence and insisting on equity. Read our March 12 e-alert for action ideas, including policies states and localities can adopt to address inequities in access to paid leave, eviction freezes, and more.
Ask your senators to support universal background checks for gun purchases:The Giffords Center and American Public Health Association are generating thousands of calls and emails to US senators in support of universal background checks, because after years of inaction it looks like there’s a chance that the Senate may finally vote on a background check bill.
Support HR 3222, a bill that would deny federal funding to implement changes to the "public charge" rule. Learn more here.
USDA proposal threatens to strip food assistance from millions of people
The proposed rule change would alter the way states determine eligibility for SNAP and free school meals. Currently, 40 states and the District of Columbia waive income and asset limits and offer food assistance to households with incomes up to 200% of the federal poverty level, if those households face other expenses—like child care or rent—that leave them with too little money to buy adequate food. Under the proposed rule change, a household’s gross income could not exceed 130% of the federal poverty level, regardless of other expenses a household needs to cover. The rule change would also eliminate food assistance for seniors and people with disabilities if their savings or assets exceed $3,500. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities warns that, by eliminating food assistance for households with modest savings, the rule change would make it harder for people to “avert a financial crisis or weather an emergency that would otherwise push them deeper into poverty or could lead to homelessness.”
What can I do?
Submit public comments to the Department of Agriculture opposing this rule change. The public comment period is open until September 23.