Kristin Ang joined Anti-Hunger & Nutrition Coalition (AHNC) advocates at a Congressional hearing on the Farm Bill held locally in Carnation in July. Congresswoman Kim Schrier (pictured 3rd from left) and House Agriculture Committee members listened to advocates, farmers, and food bank providers about shared priorities for the Farm Bill Reauthorization to end hunger, especially the importance of SNAP benefits.
Passage of the Inflation Reduction Act
Breaking news: The Inflation Reduction Act passed the U.S. House this afternoon with a 220-207 vote, after passing the U.S. Senate last Sunday, 51-50. This is a $750 billion package that combats climate change, addresses healthcare costs, and raises taxes on large corporations.
The package includes $370 billion in spending on energy and climate change, including $60 billion for environmental justice initiatives in disadvantaged communities that are disproportionately affected by climate change, $3 billion in grants to promote clean and accessible transportation, and tax credits for buying electric vehicles. The bill will set the U.S. on a path to reduce greenhouse gasses to 40% below 2005 levels by 2030. While the bill is touted as the largest investment in climate change in U.S. History, it does include concessions required by Senator Manchin such as allowing new oil drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico and off Alaska. However, there will be fees to penalize fossil fuel companies for excess methane emissions from drilling oil and gas.
The healthcare wins include the following:
- Starting in 2026, Medicare will be able to negotiate drug prices for the first time, specifically for 10 high-cost drugs that have yet to be determined.
- Starting in 2025, Medicare beneficiaries will get a $2,000 annual cap on out-of-pocket drug expenses.
- There will be a $35 monthly cap on the cost of insulin for those insured by Medicare. Republicans removed a provision to include those with private insurance.
- There will be a 3-year extension of Affordable Care Act (ACA) subsidies that have lowered or eliminated premiums for many ACA consumers.
The package will also reduce the deficit by $300 billion through tax reform measures, including the following:
- A 15% corporate minimum tax rate for companies with annual financial statement incomes higher than $1 billion.
- A 1% excise tax on stock buybacks.
- Funding for significantly increased tax enforcement.
Sadly, the package does not include extension of the child tax credit. Senator Bernie Sanders called the act a modest proposal, but ultimately voted for it and issued this statement on the good and bad of the Inflation Reduction Act.
After Congress’ August recess, we will be working with our coalition partners to advocate for immigration reforms and key nutrition legislation to be debated this fall, the Farm Bill and the Child Nutrition Reauthorization.
The Power of Public Witness
The Yakima Immigrant Response Network (YIRN), which held weekly vigils at the Yakima airport as detainees were being transferred in shackles to the Northwest Detention Center (NDC) or being deported, recently shared a letter from a man who remembers their witness three years later. We received his and YIRN’s permission to share it with you, so we all know the difference our public witness makes.
My name is Pablo Allison and I am of Mexican/British decent. I was detained in the city of Blaine while I was trying to enter Canada through the port of entry back in 2019. The story is pretty long, but to cut it short, I was arrested and sent to the NDC in Tacoma where I spent almost one month before I was charged with Moral Turpitude and deported back to Mexico.
I have been telling my story on detention and deportation to many audiences, mainly in the US and Europe, since I am a photographer working on topics such as immigration and prison. Many of the experiences I share are sort of distant memories that are slowly evaporating from my mind since they happened some time ago and I don’t have any photographs to tangibly remember these experiences.
There is part I vividly remember of when we arrived at the runway of the small airport, which today I managed to finally know the name of – Yakima Air Terminal. Once we were told to get off the mobile prison bus we were made to line up before boarding the plane. I remember hearing other detainees murmuring away about something. I immediately realized that they were talking about a group of people at a distance behind a fence who were waving flags and shouting out messages at us. I could not really hear what they were shouting. Some detainees said that group of people were bad gringos who were celebrating our deportation, but I looked carefully at the flags and what the banners said and soon I realized they were there to support us. I told the people around me that they were there to support us but we immediately boarded the plane, hence there was no time to reflect on that situation.
I remember shedding some tears from that moving moment. A bunch of human beings concerned about other human beings who would not get their lives back again. They were leaving their loved ones and homes behind by force; thanks to the capitalist and racist system that cannot tolerate other perspectives.
That group of people behind the fence at that airport terminal supporting the migrants boarding the plane were you guys, and after almost 3 years since I got deported, I happened to be aware of it today. I don’t know whether you will read this message, but I wish to thank you for being there that day to show support and to hope that one day this and other injustices end.
All the best, Pablo, www.pabloallison.co.uk.
Host a SHARE shelter in Seattle. SHARE is currently looking to expand their indoor, self-managed shelter network. The need is urgent; so far this year, 130 homeless people have already died outside, one of the largest numbers ever in Seattle/King County. Their needs include:
- Space for 15 to 30 people, 1500-4000 square feet, with good ventilation.
- 24-hour access to the site. They are open to considering new day sites for two shelters that are nights only.
- Proximity (within a half mile) to public transportation.
- Use of indoor plumbing (toilets and sinks) desirable.
- Other amenities such as kitchen access, showers, and laundry facilities, are a plus.
For more information, contact SHARE at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-448-7889.
Saturday, August 13, 7pm, Machinists Hall, Seattle. The Righteous Mothers in a benefit concert to stop the privatization of Medicare, presented by Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action and featuring a kick-off address by US Representative Pramila Jayapal. Attend in person at Machinists Hall, 9125 15th Place S or via livestream. Get more information and tickets here.
Monday, August 15, noon, on line. Webinar: COVID Test and Treatments Global Access Campaign. Activist briefing on the next phase of the global campaign to make sure people everywhere have access to COVID-19 tests and treatments. Register here.
Saturday, August 20, 2022, 9am-3pm, Silverdale. Kitsap Ride for Refugees as they build their lives in this new country. Start and finish at Silverdale Lutheran Church, 11701 Ridgepoint Drive NW, Silverdale, WA 98383. All proceeds will go to Lutheran Community Services Northwest’s refugee resettlement work in the Puget Sound. Get more information and register here: Kitsap Ride for Refugees – LCSNW.
Saturday, August 27, 9am-4pm, Seattle University. Sixth Annual Immigration Summit: Catholics Engaging in Immigrant Justice. Attend in person or via Zoom. Register here for the Summit by August 22.
Thursday, September 1, 5pm-7:30pm, Lake Sammamish State Park, Issaquah. Community, Conservation, & Culture, a community event organized by Global Social Business Partners and the Lake Sammamish Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership. Learn more and RSVP here: https://bit.ly/GSBP-UWRP.
Saturday, September 17, 10am-5pm, Skagit Valley College, Mount Vernon. 2022 Labor & Immigration Summit hosted by the Washington State Labor Council and the AFL-CIO Labor & Immigration Committee. FAN is pleased to co-sponsor this year’s event with the theme “Immigrant and Refugee Workers Rising and The Future of the Labor Movement.” There will be workshops, a guest speakers’ breakfast, lunch, and free parking. Register here. For more information, email Dgutierrez@wslc.org.
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