Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, testified today before the House Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, urging its members to fully fund poverty-focused development assistance in the fiscal year 2016 budget.
“Extreme poverty around the world has been cut in half. 100 million people have escaped from hunger in just the past decade alone. Annual deaths from preventable diseases have fallen remarkably. Fewer children are dying of pneumonia, diarrhea, and AIDS,” said Beckmann in his prepared remarks. “U.S. poverty-focused development assistance helps build secure, healthy, and productive nations.”
Both the House of Representatives and Senate are planning to finalize their budgets for FY 2016 this week. The House proposes cutting international poverty-focused development assistance by 16 percent overall. The Senate proposal is better, but still results in a one percent decrease. Bread considers this assistance a major part of the federal government’s overall work in fighting hunger.
“Further cuts would have a devastating impact on the 805 million people who do not have enough food to lead a healthy, active life and the 3.1 million children under 5 who die annually from the causes of poor nutrition,” said Beckmann.
He asked that the subcommittee encourages the Obama administration to ensure the programs’ effectiveness through its nutrition strategy. Malnutrition limits cognitive abilities, stunts growth, and increases susceptibility to diseases, especially among children.
International poverty-focused development assistance is essential to meet the urgent needs of the poorest countries. It also helps build sustainable trading partners for the United States.