Our Victories in the Last Six Months
A Note from David
At the outset, I’d like to thank you for our most recent achievement. For the first time in history, a sitting president delivered a major speech on hunger. It was particularly gratifying to hear him emphasize the importance of nutrition during the first 1,000 days of a child’s life. President Obama also announced a new partnership—the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition—to speed efforts to end hunger and improve child nutrition around the world.
This is a clear indication that global hunger and malnutrition has moved higher in the administration’s list of priorities, despite the pressures in Congress to cut the federal deficit. It also affirms our status as a key player in global hunger and poverty advocacy, being one of the few organizations the White House consulted on this issue.
The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition was then adopted by G-8 leaders during their May 18-19 summit at Camp David, MD. This effort to more deeply involve local and international businesses in African agriculture is an important step toward lifting 50 million poor Africans out of poverty in the next 10 years.
Despite this victory, we should remain vigilant in creating a circle of protection around programs vital to hungry and poor people, especially as Congress tries to balance the federal budget.
Your phone calls, letters, and personal emails have consistently drummed into the minds of our members of Congress that they should not balance the budget on the backs of hungry and poor people. I’d like to especially thank those who signed our petition, “$50,000 per Church for Longer Food Lines? No!” which says no to SNAP cuts. About 26,000 people have signed it, including more than 1,000 pastors. You can still add your name here. The petition will be delivered to Congress during our annual Lobby Day on June 12.
Although we failed to stop the House of Representatives from passing the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act, 16 Republican representatives voted against it. One of them publicly said he was voting his conscience by voting no. This is a big step, and it demonstrates the value of your grassroots advocacy.
Summer is around the corner, and we expect the upcoming elections to overshadow much of the work being done in Congress. However, we are preparing a set of educational materials to help you highlight hunger and poverty during this election cycle. Candidates must know that a large portion of Americans are concerned about hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world.
The fall session of Congress, which starts after the Nov. 6 elections, will be especially hectic. The Senate and House will need to pass the fiscal year 2013 budget (or extend the current one); the Bush tax cuts will expire (crucial for the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit) at the end of the year; and the automatic cuts (known as sequestration) will begin early next year, as stipulated in the Budget Control Act of 2011.
In addition, Congress will need to raise the debt ceiling at the end of 2012 or early 2013. So be prepared to act! Raising a collective voice on behalf of hungry and poor people will be especially important as deals are being cut.
We have accomplished much over the last six months, especially in ameliorating or preventing massive cuts to programs vital to hungry and poor people. These accomplishments were made possible by your constancy in prayer, your advocacy for hungry and poor people, and your tireless support of our 2012 Offering of Letters campaign. Thank you.
Grace and peace,
President, Bread for the World