Washington, D.C.– Bread for the World is encouraged by the agreements reached late last night on the fiscal year 2016 omnibus spending bill and the tax bill. The organization urges lawmakers to quickly pass both pieces of legislation.
“We are greatly encouraged by the agreements made last night on the FY 2016 omnibus spending bill and the tax bill,” said David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “These bills will keep millions of Americans out of poverty, and ensure that those in most need have the resources to put food on the table and provide for their children. I urge lawmakers to pass both bills posthaste.”
The tax bill makes permanent key improvements to the earned income tax credit (EITC) and the child tax credit (CTC). The EITC and CTC together lift more people out of poverty than any other program in the U.S. besides Social Security. Making these EITC and CTC provisions permanent will prevent 16 million people from falling into or deeper into poverty. Bread for the World has been working to make these improvements permanent since 2010, and this bill represents a major victory for low-income working families.
The omnibus bill increases funding for children’s programs like Head Start, and provides alternative access to food during the summer months when school is not in session. The bill also increases funding for international food aid and maternal and child health and nutrition, and continued funding to build long-term agriculture sustainability. Notably, the bill does not include a provision to increase subsidies to the world’s largest shipping companies to ship food aid. The provision could have resulted in up to 2 million people losing life-saving U.S. food aid while increasing transportation costs to taxpayers by $75 million.
“These bills prove that Congress can overcome brinksmanship and pass legislation that will make a real difference for people struggling to put food on the table and provide for their families,” added Beckmann. “I hope that lawmakers pass both bills this week, and in the coming year continue to work together for the common good.”