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LSA Washington – July 27, 2010

A regular publication from the LSA Public Policy Office

LSA Housing Priorities Advance on Capitol Hill

The House Financial Services Committee today marks up H.R. 4868, the Housing Preservation and Tenant Protection Act of 2010. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), chair of the Financial Services Committee, includes as Title VII the legislative language of S. 118, the Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Act. The bill was expected to be passed by the committee, with eventual passage by the House. Its future in the Senate is uncertain, although it is expected that if the Senate moves on passage of S. 118 that the House will take it up separately from the other provisions of H.R. 4868.

In addition to committee action on the Section 202 legislation, S. 1481, the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2009, obtained three new co-sponsors: Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT). This legislation, which would provide needed reforms to the Section 811 Housing for Persons with Disabilities program, is expected to move in tandem with S. 118 in the coming months, with hope for eventual passage by the full Senate before the end of the current session.

The Section 202 and Section 811 programs retained support in both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees in the FY2011 budget. The House and Senate committees funded Section 202 at the FY2010 level of $825 million; Section 811 was funded by the House at its FY2010 level of $300 million, and by the Senate at $200 million with an additional $114 million in rental assistance funding set aside for people with disabilities. Each of these programs were marked by the Obama Administration for zeroing out of new capital funding; LSA is very pleased that both the House and the Senate continued support of these important programs. The House is expected to vote on the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill yet this week; the Senate may vote on theirs before adjourning for their August recess, although the timing is still uncertain.

Action Needed: Call Your Senators in Support of FMAP, Housing Trust Fund

LSA is continuing to advocate for the passage of legislation which contains the enhanced FMAP extension, as well as the extension of enhanced COBRA subsidies, funding for the National Housing Trust Fund, an extension of the TANF Emergency Contingency Fund and the reestablishment of the IRA charitable deduction tax provision. LSA members that support any or all of these provisions are encouraged to send a letter to the editor of their state and local newspapers (click here for a sample letter), as well as continue to contact their Senators (click here for a sample script).

For more information, please contact Lisa Hassenstab via e-mail or at 202-626-7932.

Guest Article: Child Nutrition and WIC Act Reauthorization

From Robert Francis, Director for Domestic Policy for the ELCA:

Childhood hunger and obesity are scandalous realities in America. With 1 in 4 kids at risk of hunger and 1 in 3 obese or overweight, urgent action is needed by all corners of society. For its part, Congress has a golden opportunity for action in the form of the currently pending reauthorization of the Child Nutrition and WIC Act.

Revisited by Congress every 5 years or so, the Child Nutrition and WIC Act authorizes all of the federal school meal and child nutrition programs, which include the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, after school snack and meal programs, and summer feeding programs. These programs ensure that low-income children have access to healthy and nutritious foods in school-based, after school, child care, and summer settings. For many poor children, it is the one guarantee of a healthy meal in a given day. (For more information about these programs, click here.)

Earlier this month, the House Education and Labor Committee passed The Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act. (The Senate Agriculture Committee passed their bill, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, in March.) While the fact that both committees of jurisdiction have completed their bills is an important step towards final legislation, advocates are concerned that Child Nutrition Reauthorization is buried too far down Congress' priority list and might not come to a vote before the full House or Senate before the programs expire on September 30, 2010. Failure of Congress to act would mean a lost opportunity to improve and strengthen the programs so they better meet the needs of our nation's children.

The ELCA Washington Office and the ELCA Conference of Bishops are urging action on behalf of child nutrition programs, and thousands of Lutherans have heeded their call. To join them, click here for the ELCA’s current action alert on child nutrition. With any questions, please contact Robert Francis, Director for Domestic Policy for the ELCA, via email or at 202-626-7936.

LSA Seeks Director of Advocacy and Policy

Lutheran Services in America (LSA), is seeking a Washington, DC-based Director of Advocacy and Policy who will educate elected and appointed officials about issues of interest to LSA member organizations (including healthcare, aging, children and youth, housing and the nonprofit sector), and educate and engage LSA members on issues of public policy. LSA connects the 300 health and human service organizations of the two largest Lutheran denominations in the US. Together these organizations serve 1 in 50 Americans each year and have collective annual operating incomes exceeding $16 billion. The Director of Advocacy and Policy will: develop and implement advocacy and policy strategies; create access to decision makers; represent LSA in coalitions and at key national tables; engage LSA members and LSA staff in public policy advocacy; help plan and carry out LSA events; work closely with LSA's Public Policy Advisory Committee; design and implement print and electronic communication vehicles to key constituents; and position LSA and its members for impact.

To see a full job description, including requirements, please click here.

Please submit a resume/CV and cover letter, including salary requirements to Interviews for the position will begin August 16.

Invite Your Elected Officials to Your Site in August!

Now is the time to plan for and invite your federal elected officials to do a site visit to learn more about your organization while they are home for the month of August. To learn more about hosting your elected officials for a site visit, click here or contact Lisa Hassenstab via email or at 202-626-7932, or Meg Cooch via email or at 202-626-7949.

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