Bread for the World Urges Congress to Balance the Budget Without Cutting Vital Programs
Washington, DC, March 15, 2013
Bread for the World is encouraged that lawmakers in the House and Senate are working to balance our nation’s budget. The faith-based anti-hunger organization urges both chambers to work together on a solution that protects programs that help people in need.
“We appreciate that both chambers are working hard to overcome our nation’s fiscal challenges,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “We welcome the ongoing budget discussions and remind leaders that our budget is a moral document that reflects our priorities.”
The proposals by leaders of the House and Senate Budget Committees for FY2014 establish very different budget priorities and paths for reducing the deficit. Proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), the House proposal fails to protect programs that lift millions of people out of poverty each year. This proposal would turn the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) into a block grant, making it unable to respond to spikes in need. The House proposal leaves sequestration in place, but shields defense from cuts—shifting the most dramatic cuts to nondefense discretionary programs, which include Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and poverty-focused development assistance (PFDA). It also leaves the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) more vulnerable to further cuts.
“The proposed House budget exemplifies imbalance, reducing deficits only through drastic spending cuts,” Beckmann said. “The most egregious cuts fall on programs proven to alleviate hunger.”
Sen. Patty Murray’s (D-Wash.) proposal replaces deep sequester cuts with a more balanced solution that includes a combination of revenue increases and spending cuts. It protects SNAP, allows for steady funding increases for international programs, and includes language on the importance of protecting WIC. It also makes the 2009 improvements to the EITC and CTC permanent, protecting them from additional cuts.
“The Senate budget proposal embodies the principles of the circle of protection, taking a balanced approach to deficit-reduction while protecting programs that serve poor and hungry people,” Beckmann continued. “Like all major bipartisan deficit reduction agreements over the past 20 years, this proposal specifies that reducing the deficit not increase poverty.”
Regarding international spending, the House proposal does not mention PFDA, but allows sequestration to continue and cuts nondefense discretionary spending below sequestration levels, putting PFDA at risk of cuts in future appropriations bills. The Senate proposal preserves PFDA by replacing scheduled cuts and increasing funding by 22 percent over ten years. Today, Bread for the World released a comparison chart of the two proposals, evaluating them in terms of how they affect hungry and poor people.
Earlier this month, Bread launched its 2013 Offering of Letters campaign, urging the president and Congress to ensure a place at the table for hungry and poor people. For more information, please visit www.bread.org/ol.
Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation's decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad.
Kristen Y. Archer, Acting Manager for Media Relations, 202-688-1118