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Hunger and the U.S. Budget
Congress passed a landmark budget agreement on August 2, 2011. That law, the Budget Control Act (BCA), raised the debt ceiling and prevented the United States from defaulting on its debts. It also included a process whereby Congress would reduce deficits by $2.1 trillion over the next 10 years.
This bipartisan agreement cut federal spending by nearly one trillion dollars over the next decade by capping annual appropriated spending (known as discretionary spending) for the next ten years.
The BCA also established a special bipartisan committee of 12 senators to develop a package that reduced deficits by an additional $1.2 over the next ten years. Informally called the "Super Committee," they were unable to reach a deal. Therefore, under the BCA, we will see $1.2 trillion in across-the-board cuts (also known as “sequestration”) over the next decade, starting in January 2013. Half of these cuts will come from defense spending.
But that’s not all Congress faces after the November elections. Congress will need to grapple with the following issues:
- $1.2 trillion in across-the-board spending cuts (also known as "sequestration")
- Expiration of all the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, including the 2009 improvements to the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit
- Farm bill reauthorization
- Annual federal budget for fiscal year 2013, which determines the spending levels for all discretionary spending, including poverty-focused development assistance, WIC, and international food aid
The budget debate continues. It can be confusing, but here are some helpful guides.
- Timeline: Key Budget Deadlines and Events
Read the budget process and view the interactive timeline
- Legislative Update
Read our most recent report from Capitol Hill
A compilation of additional materials are also available from Budget Basics & Resources.
What's at stake?
Everything! What happens now in Congress will affect us over the next decade, since all of the anti-poverty and anti-hunger programs that Bread for the World has fought for are at stake. Our analysis shows that cuts to these programs could have disastrous consequences to those Jesus calls "the least of these."
Urge your member of Congress to form a circle of protection around funding for programs that are vital to hungry and poor people in the United States and abroad.
Write to or call your member of Congress, write a letter to your local newspaper, or request a meeting to raise the issue during meetings with your senators or representatives. Town hall meetings with members of Congress are excellent venues to ask questions about creating a circle of protection around programs that are vital for hungry and poor people.