Some good things happened in the 115th Congress (which adjourned in December). Several pieces of legislation that Friends Committee on National Legislation staff and Friends/ friends lobbying from across the country worked hard on:
1. The First Step Act which is a major overhaul of Federal criminal justice and sentencing laws. We started pushing on this one early in 2017.
2. The Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act was passed by both Houses and signed by the president near the end of the session.
3. Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill. As recently as November 30, there were just over 400 Friends and friends of Friends on the Hill in Senate and Representative offices lobbying to pass a bill that would not put additional restrictions on eligibility for the SNAP program (food stamps). That passed – with votes from both N.C. senators (who had opposed an earlier iteration.
4. The Senate voted to end U.S. military participation in the Saudi-led war in Yemen. It took a long time to see some of these things come to fruition, but Quakers are known to be persistent and powerful in their lobbying.