There’s no spending bill in sight for a portion of the federal government. As you may recall, lawmakers passed H.J. Res. 143 last week, amending the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2019 to continue appropriations by another continuing resolution. It continued funding for about 25 percent of government departments and programs for two more weeks, until Dec. 21, 2018.

Aside from this week’s gains on the Farm Bill, the balance of spending remained unsettled as of the end of day Thursday as House lawmakers head home for six days. We’ve learned that possibilities for continued spending include another continuing resolution that may range from seven days to five months; the latter gives time for the 116th Congress to restart negotiations, as any unsettled business at the end of the year does not carry forward.  

Public Charge Rule

Comments on the much spoken about Public Charge rule were due Monday, Dec. 10. Many thanks to the Alliance members who offered insights and input over the past several weeks. The Alliance’s comments were similar to those of many other human services organizations; however, we did add our unique focus on the positive influence of immigrants around innovation, new business, and revenue for the American government in hopes of appealing to lawmakers by speaking to revenue and job generation, versus the costs of immigration as the rule was framed on. Excerpted from comments:  

New American Economy Research Fund, a bipartisan research and advocacy organization, cites that, “nearly 44 percent (219) of America’s Fortune 500 companies were founded by an immigrant or a child of an immigrant.” They go on to cite that as of 2018, one in five Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children showing that immigrants have leveraged the promise of U.S. freedom and long contributed to the success of the American economy. Additionally, in fiscal year 2017, the 219 New American companies on the 2018 Fortune 500 list brought in $5.5 trillion in revenue—generating significant taxable income for the U.S. government.  

We are hopeful the human and humanity focused comments and role nonprofit humans service organizations play in helping potential new Americans will appeal to reviewing staff; however, it is also worth noting the value of immigration to the American economy is large and should not go without notice in this conversation.

Criminal Justice Bill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) filed cloture on the criminal justice overhaul measure, teeing up consideration for next week. The proposed act is backed by both parties and the president. If passed as is, it would reduce sentences for nonviolent offenders and provide job training for those incarcerated, as a means to reduce recidivism.

Government Spending

In November 2018, the federal government posted the widest gap between revenues and expenditures in history. According to the Treasury, revenue remained stable at $206 billion; however, the government spent $411 billion, leaving a $205 billion gap. Last year, for the same period, the gap was $136 billion.   

Farm Bill

On Wednesday, lawmakers sent the Farm Bill to the president for signature, replacing the bill that expired Sept. 30. The new bill is a much tamer version than the House-passed bill, limiting the much talked about work requirements. H.R. 2 reauthorizes the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) through fiscal year 2023. Work requirements remain largely the same for adults ages 15-60. The bill also adds an additional $13.9 million for employment and training programs. 

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