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Shelley Rood

AJFCA Washington Director

                        Thursday, September 12, 2013  

Dear AJFCA Members:

This week Congress returned to Washington with a robust agenda. In addition to the unfinished business of the FY 2014 Appropriations bills and the need to reach agreement on increasing the nation's spending authority, Congress is expected to return to a number of legislative issues of importance to agencies as early as next week. Three of those issues are summarized below with links to background and sample letters. Please join us in advocating on these issues.      

Upcoming Vote

Farm Bill/SNAP - The House of Representatives intends to vote on a Farm Bill reauthorization that includes a $40 billion cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) over the next 10 years. AJFCA opposes this move and urges members to VOTE NO. Please consider participating in the national call-in day to protect SNAP on Tuesday, September 17th by calling Feeding America's hotline at 866-456-8824 and entering in your zip code to connect with your Representative. Feel free to use this SNAP sample letter to send to your Representative.  

Cosponsorship Opportunities
Behavioral Health Information Technology (BHIT) Act, H.R. 2957 - It is crucial that community based mental health centers such as Jewish family and children's service agencies have access to the technology for electronic health records (EHRs) the way that hospitals and other medical facilities do, in order to best serve clients with multiple health related conditions. The BHIT Act introduced in the House provides this access. Please visit this BHIT Background Page for a template letter, cosponsor list, and other materials.

Responding to the Urgent Needs of Survivors of the Holocaust (RUSH) Act, S. 999, H.R. 2064 - The Older Americans Act (OAA) provides services for seniors such as transportation, meals, and caregiver support. The RUSH Act adds Holocaust survivors to the groups targeted to receive services under the OAA. We urge the House and Senate to include the RUSH Act as they consider proposals to reauthorize the OAA, and it is crucial that the RUSH Act have many bipartisan cosponsors to show support. Please use this RUSH Act template letter
to write to your Senators and Representatives.
Next Week
U.S. Census Poverty Data to be released - Next week the Census Bureau will announce new data on poverty, income, employment, and housing. This information will be searchable by state and even Congressional district. We encourage you to view the reports and use data in your advocacy efforts.  The information is available at www.census.gov.

Your advocacy and your feedback are invaluable to our work. Please keep us informed about your recess meetings and any insight you glean from contact with your members of Congress. I would be happy to assist with any necessary follow-up. Please contact Shelley Rood with any questions. Wishing you and your loved ones a sweet new year filled with health and happiness.