Faith Leaders Meet With Congressional Leaders on Poverty-Focused Programs

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A diverse group of faith leaders from across the country is visiting Capitol Hill today to ask their congressional representatives to prioritize funding for global health, development assistance, humanitarian response, and peacebuilding-related programs in the federal government’s International Affairs budget. The faith leaders are also advocating for an end to sequestration cuts on successful humanitarian and development programs that invest in children and families around the world.

“It is our faith that motivates and guides our actions here today,” said Eric Mitchell, director of government relations at Bread for the World. “As people of faith we recognize especially that these programs are vital lifelines for those in desperate need and promote the inviolable dignity of each person.” The leaders are from Christian, Jewish, and other faith traditions.

The parts of the budget that carry out development and humanitarian assistance are known as poverty-focused development assistance (PFDA) accounts. PFDA accounts provide both humanitarian relief and long-term, sustainable solutions to the problems of poverty and hunger. The work takes a wide variety of forms-agricultural development and nutrition, refugee assistance, immediate disaster assistance, global health, education, gender equality, water and sanitation, and more.

The House Appropriations Committee passed the fiscal year 2016 State and Foreign Operations bill last week funding the Global Health, Development Assistance, Migration and Refugee Assistance and International Disaster Assistance accounts at or above FY 2015 levels. Funding has not been restored for international and some multilateral organizations and programs.

The Senate is expected to pass its FY 2016 Senate Appropriations State and Foreign Operations bill in the next few weeks.

“As Congress looks to balance the budget we ask that they remember that the moral measure of any society is how it treats the most vulnerable. We must accelerate, not pull back, from the many gains made in recent years. We urge members of Congress to fund PFDA accounts at or greater than the FY 2015 level,” concluded Mitchell.

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