U.S. Federal Budget

The federal budget is statement of who we are as a nation. It is more than a financial document. It is a moral one. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). This applies to nations as well as people.

While the federal government’s budget may sound boring or overwhelming with its unfathomable numbers, it’s too important to ignore when it comes to ending hunger.

The federal budget provides Congress and the president with the single greatest opportunity to shape our country’s priorities. The choices made about how the nation generates revenues and spends its shared resources should promote hope, opportunity, and economic security for all people, especially those struggling to put food on the table. As Christians, we believe that a moral measure of our federal budget is how it treats those whom Jesus called “the least of these” (Matthew 25:45).

Our government spends about 11 percent of its budget on domestic programs that assist low-income individuals (excluding health care and Social Security). Less than one percent of the federal budget goes toward international poverty-focused development assistance.

These policies and programs have produced tremendous gains in terms of nutrition, infant mortality, and children’s health care. Internationally, hunger has decreased over the last two decades. The number of people receiving anti-retroviral medicines to treat HIV/AIDS in developing countries increased tenfold to almost 3 million people in the last six years. Since 1990, more than 1 billion people gained access to clean water. When targeted and given the proper resources, these programs can work.

During budget negotiations, Congress too often looks to some of our most effective anti-hunger programs for places to cut. But it’s in the federal budget where many priorities are sharply put into focus. This is where Bread annually focuses its advocacy.  

Infographic: International Affairs and Poverty Focused Development Assistance. Graphic by Doug Puller / Bread for the World

Tools
from our Resource Library

For Education

For Faith

  • Unity Declaration on Racism and Poverty

    A diverse body of Christian leaders calls on the churches and Congress to focus on the integral connection.

    Dear Members of Congress,

    As the president and Congress are preparing their plans for this year, almost 100 church leaders—from all the families of U.S. Christianity—are...

  • In Times Like These … A Pan-African Christian Devotional for Public Policy Engagement

    This devotional guide invites deepened relationship with and among Pan-Af­rican people and elected leaders in the mission to end hunger and poverty.

  • Sermon by David Beckmann at Duke University Chapel

    Remarks delivered October 1, 2017 at Duke University Chapel in Chapel Hill in North Carolina.

    Thank you for inviting me to preach here at Duke University Chapel. And I especially want to thank the Bread for the World members who have come this morning.

    Bruce Puckett urged...

For Advocacy

  • U.S. Hunger and Poverty State Fact Sheets

    These fact sheets provide a snapshot of hunger and poverty in the United States and in each state plus Washington, D.C. 

  • Fact Sheet: Hunger by the Numbers

    In 2017, 11.8 percent of households in the U.S.—40 million people—were food-insecure, meaning that they were unsure at some point during the year about how they would provide for their next meal.

  • Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017

    Unnecessarily long prison sentences, combined with the lack of rehabilitative programs for people in prison, exacerbate hunger, poverty, and existing inequalities.

    Overly harsh mandatory minimum prison sentences have contributed to the rapid increase of our country’s prison population. The...

Field

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