FY 2015 Budget Proposal Cuts Deeply into Programs for Hungry and Poor People
Bread for the World is deeply disappointed in the fiscal year 2015 House budget proposal. Released April 1 by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, the proposal calls for deep cuts to programs for hungry and poor people in the United States and around the world.
"At a time when we should be helping struggling American families get a leg up, this budget resolution instead cuts funding for programs vital to them," said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. "House lawmakers must stop their offensive against poor and hungry people and focus on finding better solutions to fix the economy instead of balancing the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable in our society."
This FY 2015 budget cuts $5.1 trillion over ten years, including $700 billion in interest savings. This is more than the $4.7 trillion in cuts from FY 2014. The proposal also includes an 11 percent cut to the International Affairs budget. This would render food aid and other humanitarian and poverty-focused development assistance programs less effective and would undermine our ability to combat hunger and poverty in the poorest countries.
The budget proposal also recommends the Millennium Challenge Corporation become the main lead agency for foreign-development assistance. Such a proposal diminishes the U.S. Agency for International Development’s role in ending hunger, as both agencies serve different functions.
Domestically, this FY 2015 budget proposal would have a devastating impact on programs like the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and low-income tax credits. The proposed budget also cuts the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) by at least $125 billion and turns it into a block grant program, which would prevent the program from responding when there is an increase in need.
"Despite unprecedented recent increases in poverty and unemployment, hunger has not increased thanks to programs like SNAP," said Beckmann. He noted that public outcry from Bread members and our collaboration with Circle of Protection partners prevented $39 billion in cuts last year to such programs, allowing millions to put food on their tables this past winter.
"Fiscal responsibility means not sacrificing our commitment to reducing hunger and poverty for the sake of reducing a deficit that vulnerable people did not create," Beckmann added. "Lawmakers must stop violating the basic principle to protect ‘the least of these’ in budget decisions, which Congress has adhered to in all major budget agreements over the past 30 years."