Human Needs Report: What Congress Did – and Didn’t Do – at the End of 2017, and What’s on Tap for Early 2018

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January 11, 2018

A lot happened on Capitol Hill right before the holiday break, while many other issues were kicked down the road and remain on the Congressional agenda for early 2018. Where do things stand? CHN just released our latest edition of the Human Needs Report, with a brief rundown on Congress’s spending work, the tax cut bill, immigration, health care, and more.  

Click here for a PDF version of the Human Needs Report.

Tax Cut Bill Signed into Law
President Trump signed the GOP tax cut bill into law on Dec. 22 after the bill passed both the House and Senate earlier that week. The bill gives huge tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations, repeals the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, raises taxes on those making under $75,000 by 2027, and adds more than $1 trillion to the national debt. A number of CHN member organizations have released multiple resources covering the tax cut bill. READ MORE »

Another Shutdown Showdown in Sight
Members of Congress avoided a shutdown in December, but they are on the cusp of another possible shutdown yet again. With just over a week before the current stopgap spending bill expires, it is expected that Congress will pass another stopgap measure next week, possibly one to fund the government through early- or mid-February. The threat of a shutdown still looms, however, as many issues remain undecided. READ MORE »

House Passes Inadequate Disaster Aid Bill
On December 21, the House passed an $81 billion disaster aid package. Many House and Senate Democrats and advocates opposed the bill because, among other reasons, it did not provide enough relief for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Puerto Rico’s governor asked Congress for $63.4 billion in aid for the territory alone, noting that $18.6 billion of those funds were “needed immediately.” READ MORE »

Trump Administration Moves to Allow States to Add Work Requirements to Medicaid
On January 11, the Trump administration moved to allow states to impose work requirements for Medicaid recipients. A letter sent to state Medicaid directors laid out the shift in policy, which gives states the opportunity to apply for waivers to allow them to establish work requirements for adult Medicaid recipients to be eligible for health coverage. Advocates have long opposed the addition of such work requirements, and legal action is a possibility. READ MORE »

Children’s Health Insurance Program Gets Support for Now, but Long-Term Funding is Needed
While Congress has yet to come to an agreement on renewing long-term funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, community health centers, and several other health-related programs, states will have money to continue their CHIP programs thanks to a provision in the stopgap funding measure Congress passed on December 21. It is intended to last through the end of March, but for as many as 11 states, funds may run out sooner. READ MORE »

Immigration Issues in Flux
Despite bipartisan support and high-level talks between Congressional leaders and President Trump this week on immigration issues, a legislative solution for Dreamers remains elusive, even as a federal judge temporarily blocked the Trump administration from ending the DACA program. In another threat to immigrants, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it will end the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for more than 200,000 immigrants from El Salvador who’ve been in the U.S. since at least 2001. READ MORE »

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Categories: Budget and Appropriations, Disaster Relief, Health, Immigration, Labor and Employment, Medicaid, Poverty and Income, Tax Policy

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