Election Day - November 6 - Approaches
This is a reminder to mark your calendars for Election Day - three weeks from tomorrow! There are important races throughout the US, including federal elections for Congress, gubernatorial races in 36 states, and state legislative and local races in many more.
Early voting is already open in some states. This website provides information about early and absentee voting, voter-identification requirements, and other information specific to your state. Make sure to form a plan for voting and that you afford adequate time to submit your ballot.
You may wish to verify on your state elections website that you are currently registered to vote. Voter registration periods remain open in some states. Check today that you are registered to ensure that you have a say on Election Day!
Early voting has already started in some states. If you have successfully voted in the election, we want to hear about it! Snap a selfie of yourself with your “I voted” sticker, and post it to Facebook and/or Twitter using the hashtag #WICVotes. This will connect you with all of the others in the WIC community who have also exercised their democratic right to help elect WIC advocates to federal, state, and local positions. If you have any questions, please email Brian at email@example.com. Please keep in mind that some states prohibit cell phone use (including taking photos with them) within polling places.
Public Charge Comment Period Open
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) formally proposed its public charge proposal last Wednesday. Since then, over 11,500 individuals have submitted comments on the proposal, which would penalize immigrants for accessing public benefit programs, including Medicaid and SNAP. Individuals and agencies may offer their comments here until December 10, 2018.
The comment period is the most important time for WIC staff to engage on this issue. DHS specifically requested feedback on the question of whether to include ANY public benefit program in a public charge determination. There remains a risk that WIC can still be included in public charge review. We urge NWA members to forcefully reject this proposal and demand the explicit exclusion of WIC from any rule. Furthermore, we urge members to share with DHS the public health consequences of including programs like Medicaid and SNAP in a public charge determination and how that would impact WIC families.
NWA will be publishing template comments later this week to assist members of the WIC community in crafting their own, unique comments. Remember: Regulatory commenting is not lobbying. Additional resources to assist clinic staff are on NWA’s Immigration Resources webpage.
Please contact Brian Dittmeier at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about public charge and how to participate in the comment process.
Congress in Recess Until Election; WIC Funding to be Addressed After Election
The House of Representatives has been in recess for weeks, but the Senate has similarly concluded its pre-election business after striking a deal to confirm lower-court judges last Thursday. No major legislative debate is expected before the election, and the earlier passage of a continuing resolution until December 7 means that spending bills, including WIC funding through the agriculture appropriations bill, will not be addressed until later in November. Members are expected to be in their districts through the election.
This is one of the best times to engage with your member of Congress! Contact the offices of your representative or senator to learn about district visits and events in your area. It is important for members of Congress to understand all that WIC does to improve the quality of life for their constituents because that knowledge will inform their willingness to support, fund, and promote the program in the future.
Note: Attending a constituent event and sharing the broad, positive impacts of WIC in a local community is not lobbying. Lobbying requires that you ask a legislator to take a specific position on a piece of legislation. Remember the simple rule: Bragging beats begging.