Bread for the World Applauds Congressional Leaders for Protecting Vulnerable People from Deep Budget Cuts
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Washington, DC, November 18, 2011
Bread for the World applauds both houses of Congress for passing the fiscal year 2012 agriculture appropriations bill (H.R. 2112) yesterday without major cuts to programs that are vital to hungry and poor people. The bill protects funding for nutrition programs and includes funding for international and domestic food assistance programs. It also includes a continuing resolution to keep the government running until December 16, 2011.
“Although cuts to programs vital to hungry and poor people in the FY 2012 agriculture appropriations bill were not nearly as severe as originally proposed, the battle isn’t over,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “We must continue urging Congress to protect programs for vulnerable people as the Super Committee nears its Nov. 23 deadline.”
Domestically, funding for the Special Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) exceeded both House and Senate proposals. WIC received $6.618 billion in funding—higher than both the House and Senate funding levels and enough to cover current and projected caseloads. The Commodity Supplemental Food Program, which primarily serves low-income seniors, was funded at the Senate level of $176.8 million, enough to continue serving existing caseloads.
Funding for international programs also fared better than expected. Congress voted to fund the Public Law 480 Title II program, which provides emergency food assistance in the most vulnerable areas of the world, at $1.466 billion. This reflects the increased demand for humanitarian assistance due to unprecedented drought and famine in the Horn of Africa. The McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program was funded at $184 million, ensuring that school children in the poorest countries of the world will at least have a meal. Unfortunately, Congress was unable to provide higher funding for these programs without violating budget caps agreed to earlier as part of a deal to reduce the federal deficit.
“We would not have been able to secure funding for these programs had it not been for the thousands of Bread for the World members and churches who wrote letters, called, and visited their members of Congress,” said Beckmann. “We are very grateful to them and for the ongoing pressure they are putting on the Super Committee to not balance the budget on the backs of poor people.”
The congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (or Super Committee) has only until Nov. 23 to identify $1.2 trillion in federal funds to reduce the deficit.
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