An Update from DC
I know it may be hard to believe, but I actually have some good news to report from Washington.
This week, we passed the Farm Bill, which is a bill Congress is supposed to pass every five years to guide our nation’s agriculture and nutrition policy. One of its most important parts is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which literally puts food on the table for our nation’s neediest and is one of our most effective anti-hunger programs. Originally, House Republicans tried to make deep cuts to SNAP that would have kicked millions of low-income families off the program with no other way to put food on their table. I, and every other Democrat, refused to go along, and I am proud to say that bill we passed this week rejected all of these cuts and even found ways to invest nearly $1 billion in additional support for food banks nationwide, the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, the SNAP Employment and Training program, and in incentives for healthier eating for SNAP beneficiaries.
I’m also proud to report that the House and Senate have finally agreed on a final bill to contend with Congress’s own #MeToo problem. With this legislation, we are creating a fair process for Capitol Hill staffers to come forward with allegations of sexual harassment and assault and enacting tougher punishments for perpetrators. This means that House of Representatives staff will now have access to House counsel, have a dedicated advocate to guide them through the process before making a formal complaint, and be able to work remotely or request paid leave without fear of retribution. It also requires public reporting of any settlements and identifying if a Member of Congress was personally liable. It also importantly requires that Representatives and Senators use their own money for harassment and retaliation settlements, instead of misusing taxpayer money.
I will return to Washington, DC next week in the hopes of voting on bills to keep the government open and funded. Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi made it clear in the Oval Office this week that there are several reasonable options on the table to prevent a shutdown. Republicans in Congress would be wise to ignore the President’s desire for a shutdown and work with us to keep the government open and serving the people.
As always, your concerns remain my top priority. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office via my website to share your thoughts.
Carolyn B. Maloney
Member of Congress