NJHSA Recess Memo 2019
The House of Representatives adjourned last week for its August Recess and the Senate will adjourn this coming Friday with members of both houses in their home districts through September 8th. The recess period is a great time to build meaningful relationships and voice your priorities to your Members of Congress.

Direct advocacy on key issues is one of the most powerful tools available to you and your agency. The next several weeks provide an ideal opportunity for you to schedule local district meetings with your Members of Congress and invite them to visit your agencies where you can showcase your programs and arrange for conversations with lay leaders, clients, and staff.

We encourage you to ask your Members of Congress to support the following priority issues which are critically important to our agencies, our staff, and clients. We understand that this is a lengthy list of issues and encourage you to select the priorities that are most relevant to your agency.

We also would like to draw your attention to a recent proposal by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to limit SNAP eligibility that would take away basic food assistance from an estimated 3.1 million people, mainly working families with children, seniors, and individuals with disabilities. The Administration is accepting comments regarding the proposal until September 23rd. We are extremely concerned about this proposal. The Network will be submitting a formal comment and will be in touch with a template in mid-August for those individual agencies that would like to submit comments as well.

Summer Recess Priorities
Funding Critical Programs:
  • Ask your Senators and Representatives to increase funding for JFNA-led programs including the Nonprofit Security Grant Program and FEMA's Emergency Food & Shelter Program, and continue funding for the Holocaust Survivor Assistance Program. Click here for a one-pager from JFNA.
Ensuring Never Again and Supporting Holocaust Survivors:
  • Ask your Senators and Representatives to co-sponsor the Never Again (Holocaust) Education Act (S.2085/H.R. 493), which will provide much-needed resources for Holocaust education. While the Senate bill is important, it is critical that as many Representatives as possible support the House bill so that we can move the bill to the floor for a vote. We need 60 more cosponsors for the bill to move forward. Click here for a list of Representatives not on the bill and here for a one-pager from JFNA;
  • Ask your Senators and Representatives to co-sponsor the Trauma-Informed Modernization of Eldercare ("TIME") for Holocaust Survivors Act (S. 2179/House bill # not yet assigned at time of email) to ensure that Holocaust survivors are specifically designated within the September reauthorization of the Older Americans Act so that they have access to the care and services that align with their needs. Click here for sample messages for both bills and here for a one-pager from JFNA.
Providing Health Care & Supporting Individuals with Disabilities:
  • Urge your Senators to reauthorize the Money Follows the Person Medicaid demonstration for four and a half more years and advocate for Senate passage of the Independence at Home Act (S. 1202) to make this vital home and community-based pilot program a permanent benefit within Medicare. Click here for a one-pager from JFNA;
  • Ask your Senators and Representatives to protect the financial security of people with disabilities by co-sponsoring and passing the ABLE Age Adjustment Act (S.651/H.R. 1814). Click here for a one-pager from JFNA.
Ensuring a Safe Haven for Asylum-Seekers:
Preventing Violence against Women:
Providing Incentives for Charitable Giving:
  • Urge Congress to extend giving incentives in the Federal tax code to all taxpayers by providing a "universal" charitable deduction by supporting the Universal Deduction for Charitable Giving (H.R. 1260) and the Charitable Giving Tax Deduction Act (H.R. 651). Click here for a one-pager from JFNA.
A few tips on meetings:
  • Don't be disappointed if the senator or representative is not available. Members rely on their staff to advise them and trust their staff's recommendations.
  • Personalize the meeting: Share statistics and/or a story of how your Federation and agencies supports constituents in the member's Congressional district. 
  • Listen! Build in time to hear what the member has to say. Be respectful, even if you disagree with their position.
  • Relationship-building tip: Take pictures during the visit, tag the official and share on social media.
  • Follow-up after the meeting with a note of thanks and stay in touch. Be a resource.
We hope you will take advantage of this opportunity during August Recess and beyond to showcase the valuable services your agency provides for the community. Please let us know if you schedule meetings or visits and any relevant discussions on the aforementioned legislation.

Please contact Network Washington Representative Darcy Hirsh if you have any questions and to share about your meeting experience.