United Way’s State and Federal Legislative Agendas for 2023
It’s time for our elected officials to start earning their keep this year. Congress and U.S. Senate convened for regular session on January 3, and the Washington State Legislature convenes for regular session on January 9. Both federal branches of government and state legislatures nationwide will work to craft laws to hopefully address needs of a polarized populace still reeling from record-setting inflation, income inequality, skyrocketing housing prices and lapses in basic needs.
The start of all legislative sessions—which will briefly recess for Martin Luther King Jr. Day—comes less than a month after President Biden signed into law a $1.7 trillion spending package to avoid a government shutdown. According to published reports, the measure includes a boost in spending for disaster aid, college access, childcare and mental health assistance. However, the measure omitted funding for expansion of the child tax credit and left out additional spending for COVID-19 response.
The 2022 state legislature passed laws to break down barriers to school meals access for the fourth year and it improved Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC) legislation by allowing reductions to the WFTC benefit to avoid making a family ineligible for the larger federal Earned Income Tax Credit.
United Way of King County annually sets forth state and federal policy agendas as part of our commitment to a racially just society where people have homes, students graduate and families are financially stable. We believe that while lawmakers have accomplished much with recent legislation, much is still needed to ensure racial, economic and social disparities are addressed.
With that said, we are sharing our 2023 state and federal public policy agendas. Both demonstrate our commitment to a just recovery and include advocacy for the types of changes in our systems that will keep us from making the same requests year after year.
Our Federal Legislative Agenda includes:
- Doubling the Child Care and Development Block Grant to enable targeted state investments in childcare systems, expand access to subsidized care and support childcare workers.
- Expanding Early Head Start, invest in Head Start workforce compensation, and fund quality improvements.
- Supporting $3.6 billion for HUD’s Homeless Assistance Grants to support locally managed homeless systems
- Expanding the Child Tax Credit (EITC) for the 19 million children who receive less than the full credit because their families’ incomes are too low.
- Increasing the federal investment per family member for living allowance and double the education award to encourage participation by underrepresented and low-income communities.
Our State Legislative Agenda includes:
• Continuing home grocery delivery of culturally relevant food to BIPOC households in South Seattle, Renton and Skyway by funding United Way to purchase food to supplement overburdened area food banks.
• Supporting undocumented workers by creating parallel unemployment and Medicaid-funded systems and childcare subsidies.
• Increasing funding to expand rental assistance.
• Expanding the Homeless Student Stability Program, which funds rental assistance for families of students who would otherwise have to move away from their local school because of rental costs.
• Making childcare accessible and attainable for BIPOC providers and families by increasing subsidy reimbursement rates and wages, removing barriers for student access, and increasing grants for facilities and equity curricula.
“Our dollars go a lot further when we’re working in an environment that supports families,” said Colleen Laing, United Way director of systems change and policy. “We don’t want to make investments to fix problems when we can fix the entire system and work at a scale that helps families across the entire state and across the entire country.”
To view our full federal agenda, click here.
To view our full state agenda, click here.