The midterm election votes are in and counted. As predicted, Republicans maintained control of the United States Senate and Democrats took over control of the House of Representatives.
This outcome affects United Way less than you might think. United Way is a nonpartisan organization focused on communities. Our public policy work is driven by our mission. We adjust our strategies based on Congress’ agenda, but good policy is good policy—regardless of who’s in charge. It is important to know our audience when talking to elected officials. We must understand and appeal to what’s important to each individual policymaker as we advocate for key policies.
United Way’s top federal priorities for 2019:
- Support for key early learning programs, especially funding for Head Start and the Child Care Development Block Grant
- Expansion of charitable giving tax incentives for middle and lower-income donors
- Protection and expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit
- Preservation of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and key health policies
- Revitalization of the Combined Federal Campaign
With control of Congress divided between the two parties, passing any legislation becomes more difficult. But we have an opportunity to build bipartisan support for our issues, and to speak to those on both sides of the aisle with credibility. Keep in mind that we’ll have a new set of committee chairs in Congress; if your delegate is a new chair, the United Way network needs you!
While we’re focused on policy, I must acknowledge the deep divisions in our country. I’m sad to say that the Presidential campaign has already started. Regardless of the midterm results, the next two years will be just as contentious, if not worse.
United Way must stay focused on policy — not politics. We can leverage our ability to influence both parties. You can help, and further anchor your United Way as a key influencer and consensus builder in your community.