food

White House wants to update poverty thresholds. It could affect food stamps and Medicaid benefits
Critics say move could weaken public assistance programs and increase hardship for low-wage earners

Supporters hold up “Save Medicaid” signs during the Senate Democrats’ news conference with disability advocates in September 2017 to oppose a Republican health care overhaul proposal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House Budget Office is considering its first update to inflation adjustment guidelines for poverty thresholds since 1978, with potential consequences for benefit programs serving low-income households.

The initiative is part of a re-evaluation of six inflation indexes used to track the impact on consumers of rising or falling prices. One of the indexes is used to adjust poverty thresholds, which underlie the calculation of eligibility for a number of benefit programs including Medicaid, food stamps and school lunches and breakfasts for poor children.

Jeff Sessions, Doug Jones ring in happy birthday for Richard Shelby

A bipartisan group of senators, and one prominent ex-senator, wished Richard Shelby a happy birthday on Monday. (Jennifer Shutt/CQ Roll Call)

The hallways outside the Senate Appropriations Committee filled with the Happy Birthday song Monday afternoon as dozens of senators and staff gathered to wish Chairman Richard C. Shelby a happy 85th birthday.

The closed-door event included coconut cake, champagne and red napkins that read “Happy Birthday Senator Richard Shelby!”

Au Bon Pain grand opening in Cannon set for April 3

Au Bon Pain is set to open in the Cannon House Office building April 3. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The effort to expand brand name food options in the House continues, with Au Bon Pain opening in the Cannon House Office Building next week.

The cafe, which will serve sandwiches, breads, pastries, salads, soups and coffee, will be on the first floor of Cannon in room 194. The location will be open Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and will employ about 16 people. The location will be under the management umbrella of Sodexo, the food service contractor for the House.

DC’s plastic straw ban stirs up feelings on Capitol Hill
Deadline for compliance with straw ban is July

The Longworth Dunkin’ Donuts is one of the eateries on Capitol Hill transitioning to non-plastic straws. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

If your warm-weather routine calls for a switch from hot coffee to iced, prepare yourself. Spring is officially here, and the plastic exodus is underway, according to Roll Call’s audit of straws on Capitol Hill.

Many staffers first felt the shift at the Longworth Dunkin’ Donuts, if all the queries we got in recent weeks are any indication. “What’s the deal with the paper straws at Dunkin’?” was a popular refrain.

Will FDA keep cracking down on teen vaping, other initiatives, after Gottlieb leaves?
Scott Gottlieb, fought teen vaping and approved record numbers of generic drugs will resign next month

The outside of the Food and Drug Administration headquarters is seen in White Oak, Md.(Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who launched a campaign against teen vaping and approved a record number of generic drugs, is resigning next month.

The departure raises questions about whether the agency would continue to vigorously seek to curb the exploding use of e-cigarettes among young people, among other Gottlieb initiatives. But the commissioner, in a resignation letter listing accomplishments on this and other issues, said he was “confident that the FDA will continue to advance all these efforts.”

FDA commissioner outlines new opioid enforcement action
The agency used, for the first time, a new type of enforcement designed to control the illegal flow of opioids

The outside of the Food and Drug Administration headquarters is seen in White Oak, Md. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Food and Drug Administration released a warning letter to a top drug distributor on Tuesday, using for the first time a new type of enforcement authority that the agency’s head called an important step in controlling the illegal flow of opioids.

FDA's letter alleged that distributor McKesson Corp. sent drugs that were supposed to be opioids — but were missing pills or were not even opioids — to multiple pharmacy locations, raising questions about whether potent opioid painkillers were missing and where they may have gone.

No ethics issues for federal workers shutdown deals
Restaurants, bars and more offering help for feds not getting paid

Deals and discounts popping up around the DC region during the shutdown aren’t risking ethics violations. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Federal workers must adhere to strict ethical guidelines for accepting meals and favors, but the deals and discounts popping up around the D.C. region during the shutdown aren’t risking violations.

As the partial government shutdown stretches toward being the longest in modern history, dozens of restaurants are offering free and discounted meals to federal workers, many of whom are either furloughed or working without pay. Bars are offering drink discounts and happy hour specials. 

Did Tax Reform Scrooge the Holiday Party Spirit?
Political Theater, Episode 49

The holiday party circuit was a bit subdued this year. Did Congress take away incentives to live it up during this time of the year? (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Whether it was a cramped schedule, the funeral of a president, changes to the tax code or overall crankiness, the holiday party scene this year seemed a little, um, meh. CQ Roll Call's Niels Lesniewski, Kate Ackley and Peter Cohn crash the party that is Political Theater to discuss the wine, song and tax deductions of the Washington holiday party circuit. 

Roll Call’s List of Holiday Parties on the Hill
How do you like your eggnog? Hopefully with a side of schmooze

If there’s one thing Washington loves, it’s a blowout holiday reception. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

If you’re looking for the best holiday parties D.C. has to offer, here’s your one-stop shop.

The cheer-fest starts this week and goes through the end of the year, courtesy of nearly every lobbying shop and communications firm in town. Cue the tiny finger foods and insufferable background music.

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