Early in the pandemic we shared with you our concern about possible impacts of the health crisis on food security. Although Congress has enacted trillion-dollar relief programs to reduce those impacts, some of those programs are ending and critical needs remain.
Among these are:
- Renewing federal support for unemployment benefits, which will soon expire;
- Funding higher SNAP benefits and expanding eligibility for nutrition programs;
- extending health and economic protections to all food system workers, regardless of their immigration status, as all alike are deemed “essential workers.”
- Targeting assistance to low-income neighborhoods of color, where infection and death rates have been highest.
- Keeping people housed. HR 7301, the Emergency Housing Protections and Relief Act of 2020 has passed the House. Ask Senators Crapo and Risch to co-sponsor HR 7301 in the Senate. Any bill addressing housing concerns must include:
- $100 billion in emergency rental assistance.
- A national moratorium on all non-payment evictions.
- $11.5 billion in Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG).
- $13 billion in additional funding for HUD and USDA housing programs
Additional funding for Medicaid. Idaho needs additional Federal Medicaid funds to avoid devastating budget cuts. State officials are currently planning 5% cuts to Medicaid with more to come in the next fiscal year. The Maintenance of Effort (MOE) provision that was included in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act is crucial for Idaho; it means that Idahoans who have fallen on hard times don’t have to worry about losing their Medicaid eligibility in the middle of a health crisis. http://www.closethegapidaho.org/take-action/take-email-action/
Although many of these needs are addressed in the HEROES Act that has already passed the House, Senate Majority Leader McConnell has absolute power to block Senate debate on them, unless convinced otherwise by his Republican caucus.
The Senate has returned to Washington.Call the offices of Senator Risch (208-342-2752) and Senator Crapo (208-334-1776) today. Or send an email to Sen. Crapo and Sen. Risch. Urge them to use their influence with Sen. McConnell to bring legislation that addresses these needs to the Senate floor.
Please share these concerns with your contacts who, along with you, are working to ensure sufficient, healthy food for all Idahoans. You will also find current information of our Facebook Together we can make a difference!
- Exempting Groceries from the Idaho Sales Tax and Eliminating the Grocery Tax Credit – Executive Summary (2017)
- Grocery Sales Tax (2016)
- Food Deserts (2015)
- Grocery Tax Credit (2014)
- Staggered Issuance of SNAP Benefits (2014)
- Wage Justice (2013)
Letters and Testimony Before the Idaho Legislature
- Fair Taxation (testimony, 2016)
- Child Support (letter, 2015)
- Fair Taxation (testimony, 2015)
- Protecting Idaho’s Grocery Tax Credit (letter, 2014)
IIRAH’s Spring & Fall Events
Program: The Rent Eats First (spring 2019)
- Presenter biographies
- Powerpoint: Housing Affordability in Idaho
- Housing Market Overview – Erik Kingston
- What You Can Do to Make a Difference and Bibliography
- If You Want to Learn More – links to additional organizations
- Photos from the event
Program: What Shall We Do About ALICE? (spring 2017)
Program: Exploring Justice in the Food System (spring 2016)
Program: Food Deserts in Idaho (2015)
- Handout: Definition and implications of food deserts
- Report: Duck Valley Food Security
- Presentation: Idaho’s First Mobile Farmers Market
- Presentation: Duck Valley Indian Reservation Food Security
- Presentation: Food Deserts
- Response from an attendee: ‘The public meeting…affected me personally’
IIRAH actively communicates with the public during the Idaho legislative session to increase awareness of key issues as they arise. Please visit our email archives for a recap of our advocacy efforts, and subscribe to our mailing list for future updates.