2023 DC Forum




Monday, March 27

Monday evening dinner and meetings will be held on Capitol Hill in the House Visitor Center, Room 201 A&B.

4:45 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.   Doors open for attendees
The entrance to the House Visitor Center is at the South Entrance to the Capitol (the side that faces Independence Avenue). You must have a government-issued photo I.D. to gain entrance. You will be escorted to Room 201 A&B. 
5:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.   Registration
Pick up your name tag and folder outside the door of Room 201 A&B.
6:00 p.m. – 6:10 p.m.   Prayer for our nation
Before we get going with dinner, we will have a time to do what the Bible tells us in I Timothy 2:1-2: “I urge . . . that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
6:10 p.m. – 6:50 p.m.   Dinner in the House Visitor Center
Included in your registration fee
     Thank you to our sponsor — Douglas Shaw and Associates
7:00 p.m. – 7:20 p.m.   SESSION 1: Who’s in charge around here?!
Dr. Stanley Carlson-Thies  •  Founder, Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance
If you are thinking that the world has gone crazy and the U.S. federal government is ushering it along, anymore, you’re likely in the majority. Every day a new headline pops up and you wonder if it’s a joke. What was once considered immoral is now called moral; what was once considered evil is now called good. Laws are being passed that erode the absolutes we grew up with. It makes you ask who is running things and where all of this is heading. This session will fine-tune your perspective on the world today.
7:20 p.m. – 7:45 p.m.  

SESSION 2: Understanding the Housing PLUS Act 
Andy Barr  •  Congressman, Kentucky 6th District
Congressman Barr, a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, unveiled legislation to reform the Housing First policy. PLUS stands for Promotes Livelihood and Ultimate Success. Specifically, the bill would prohibit the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary from prohibiting, limiting, or otherwise restricting award of Continuum of Care (CoC) funds to providers because they require wraparound services, such as addiction treatment or job counseling, or because they are faith-based.  The bill also directs the HUD Secretary to allocate no less than 30 percent of CoC funding to recipients that provide, or facilitate access to, wraparound services. The Housing PLUS Act will ensure that HUD grant funding is reaching providers who are helping people transition from homelessness to self-sufficiency, without unneeded restrictions.


Tuesday, March 28

All Tuesday meetings will be held on Capitol Hill in the House Visitor Center, Room 201 A&B, unless otherwise noted.

 Whenever   Full breakfast on Your Own
Coffee/Decaf/Tea, yogurt, and muffins will be available in Room 201 A&B when you arrive.
7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.   Doors open for attendees
The entrance to the House Visitor Center is at the South Entrance to the Capitol (the side that faces Independence Avenue). You must have a government-issued photo I.D. to gain entrance. You will be escorted to Room 201 A&B.
8:00 a.m. – 8:40 a.m.   SESSION 3: What to expect from the 118th Congress
Doug Lamborn  •  Congressman, Colorado 5th District
It took a while to get the Speaker of the House elected, but now we’re off and running. It’s obvious that the House of Representatives and the Senate have very different leaders and agendas. Are there enough votes to see significant changes and what will they be? Where will there be compromise and where will we see heels dug in? We’ll hear some perspective on the border and immigration, the economy, outbreaks and healthcare, homelessness, workforce and the supply chain, and more. Many of these issues affect your ministry and life in critical ways.
8:40 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.   SESSION 4: USICH is “All In”
Jeff Olivet  •  Executive Director, U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness
Dr. Joe Savage  •  Senior Regional Advisor, U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness
The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness has just released All In, its new strategy to “prevent and end homelessness.” This replaces Expanding the Toolbox, the strategy under the previous administration. Hear what’s new in this plan and what place faith-based organizations are seen to play. Bring your questions and concerns and join in the dialogue.
9:15 a.m. – 9:50 a.m.   SESSION 5: What to know about the Respect for Marriage Act
Tim Schultz  •  President, 1st Amendment Partnership
Some are saying that the recently passed Respect for Marriage Act does little to protect organizations that promote a biblical view of marriage, but others believe that the additional language put into the bill in final negotiation will strengthen religious liberty, at least for the foreseeable future. See what you think and determine if you are doing what you can to protect your organization’s values.   
9:50 a.m. – 10:10 a.m.   Walk to The Hubert Humphrey Building
This building, at 200 Independence Avenue SW, is the office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. We will meet at the door at 10:10 a.m. SHARP. It will take a few minutes to get everyone through security. Don’t forget your government-issued I.D. Our meeting will be in Room 800. If you need transportation to the Hubert Humphrey Building, please let a Citygate Network staff member know by 9:30 a.m.
10:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.  

SESSION 6: A Triad of Troublesome Issues
Dr. Que English  •  Director, The Partnership Center, HHS
Dr. Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon •  Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, HHS
Kimberly Casey •  Communications and Prevention Specialist, Office on Trafficking in Persons, HHS/Administration for Children and Families
Heidi Christensen  •  Public Affairs Specialist, The Partnership Center, HHS
The Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is known as The Partnership Center. Citygate Network connects regularly with the staff there and is actively working on projects together. We’ve asked them, and colleagues at their sister agencies, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Administration of Children and Families (ACF), to provide a briefing on critical issues that should be of great interest (and maybe concern) to every Citygate Network member: The fentanyl crisis and treatment for Substance Use Disorder (SUD); overdose prevention; and current efforts to stem human trafficking. You won’t want to miss these insightful updates.

11:55 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.  

Lunch on your own
SUGGESTION: National Museum of the American Indian
There are some restaurants on 4th Street SW, around the corner from HHS. You will also find food trucks on the street. For something different, and a unique experience, walk across Independence Avenue to this fascinating museum (part of the Smithsonian) where you can order food that’s representative of native American cuisine. There are five food stations: Contemporary Native; Mountains and Plains; Native Comfort; Oceans, Sea and Streams; and The Three Sisters. Each introduces you to regional cooking techniques, ingredients, and flavors.


     Thank you to our sponsor — Gallagher Insurance
1:00 p.m. – 1:40 p.m.   SESSION 7: Speaking up for the people we serve
Rev. David Beckmann  •  Coordinator, Circle of Protection, and President Emeritus, Bread for the World
Thirty-eight million Americans, including one in six children, struggle with food insecurity. Together, our member organizations annually provide more than 60 million meals and distribute some 15 million food boxes. But the federal government also plays a crucial role in providing help and opportunity for people who struggle with hunger and poverty.
1:40 p.m. – 2:10 p.m.   SESSION 8: Why we need faith-based groups more than ever
Conrad Washington  •  Director, Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships
You might think that there is an agenda to stifle faith-based organizations, but deep down, politicians know better. They know these are the groups that are the most heavily involved in providing critical services for those who have fallen through the holes in society’s safety nets, especially America's veterans. They know these are the ones committed to making a difference for as long as it takes, with or without government funds. That is why so many lawmakers want to be seen helping at faith-based organizations when they are back in their districts. Hear what the White House has to say about the work that you do and how collaboration is still possible, even if there may not be agreement.
2:10 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.  

SESSION 9: Congress’ effect on the state of giving
Steve Taylor  •  Principal, Integer LLC
Brian Walsh  •  Executive Director, Faith & Giving
Individual donations are the fuel that keeps the engine running for your mission or ministry. But there are more than a few politicians who see missed revenue opportunities with tax-free charitable contributions. Citygate Network has long had an eye on this, which is why we co-founded the Faith & Giving Coalition (now Faith & Giving). We have been successful on many occasions to keep charitable contributions virtually free of encumbrance, but it is an ongoing task. In this session, we will cover the status of giving in all sectors. We will look at trends, and then discuss measures being considered on the floor of the House and Senate that could have a bearing on private donations.

2:45 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.   SESSION 10: Wrong headed, wrong direction
Michele Steeb •  Senior Fellow, Texas Public Policy Foundation
Andy Bales  •  CEO, Union Rescue Mission, Los Angeles
Ellen Grantz • Founding Member, Mothers Against Drug Addiction
and Deaths
and North America Recovers

Though illegal under federal law, Supervised Drug Consumption Sites — aka safe injection sites — are coming to a community near you. The Department of Justice recently signaled that it is in its final weeks of settlement talks with the nation's first proposed site in Philadelphia. With the nation’s drug crisis at an all-time high, America can ill-afford public policy ventures that reject human transformation and second chances. People struggling with addiction — as well as the families and communities crushed under its weight — deserve “free” ways, not highways to hell. Texas is leading the way as they consider legislation to ban supervised drug consumption sites entirely.
3:15 p.m. – 3:35 p.m.   Snack Break
3:35 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.   SESSION 11: What comes after COVID?
Dr. Deborah Birx  •  Senior Fellow, George W. Bush Institute
You may remember Dr. Birx as the former White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator. We’ve asked her to talk to us about the status of COVID right now: How many variants are still coming and what can we expect from each? Also, what other health concerns might be on the horizon and what do the people running congregant shelters need to do to stay vigilant?
4:15 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.   SESSION 12: Presenting Citygate Network’s Policy Positions
John Ashmen  •  President, Citygate Network
Nicole Frazier  •  Associate Partner, Dentons Global Advisors
In this valuable session, we will go over handouts that outline the key talking points you should use with senators and representatives (and/or their staff) on Wednesday. We’ll also talk about how to invite them to meet with you back “at home.” You’ll get the “dos” and “don’ts” for navigating House and Senate office buildings — it’s a huge complex — and then greeting and engaging. We’ll end with prayer for our government and your meetings.
 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.   Dinner at Old Ebbitt Grill 
Included in your registration fee
Located at 675 15th St, NW, Old Ebbitt Grill was originally a saloon and boarding house, opened in 1856 by William Ebbitt. It had a guest list that read like a Who's Who of American History. President McKinley is said to have lived there during his tenure in Congress, and Presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Andrew Johnson, Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt, and Warren Harding supposedly refreshed themselves at its stand-around bar. Its present-day location, between the Willard Hotel and the U.S. Treasury Department building — and around the corner from the White House — makes it a popular dining spot for dignitaries from around the world. We’ll be in their semi-private atrium area.

Wednesday, March 29

Whenever   Breakfast on Your Own
8:35 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.   Capitol Hill Meetings
This day is filled with pre-arranged appointments (which Citygate Network has scheduled for you, or you have scheduled for yourself). You’ll meet with lawmakers and/or their staff in Senate and House office buildings. In most cases, you will meet with staff members (e.g., legislative directors, legislative assistants, etc.) who have the job of clearly articulating both your thanks and concerns to the elected representative for whom they work. If Citygate Network handled this for you, your schedule was arranged after you registered and should have been provided to you upon arrival at the DC Forum. If you don’t have it, see Lisa Miller.

Proceed directly to the location of your first meeting. Citygate Network staff will be available to assist you and accompany you as requested throughout the day. Citygate Network staff, when not in meetings, will “camp out” in the Longworth Cafeteria on the House side and the Dirksen Cafeteria on the Senate side.

When your appointments are done, you are free to leave…or hang around in Washington and enjoy the sights and sounds of this always-buzzing city. We encourage you to connect with others in our group and get together for dinner, if you have the time. Some Citygate Network staff will be staying around for another day or two.

When you get home, text or email the outcomes of your Capitol Hill meetings to the Citygate Network staff. Contact info will be given at the event.