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By Bread staff
As 2019 came to a close, Congress successfully negotiated appropriations for fiscal year 2020. The appropriations package provided the first substantial increase since 2010 for programs aimed at helping people in the United States struggling with poverty.
It also increased international aid to help more people around the world move out of poverty.
President Trump had proposed deep cuts to international aid. Congress instead increased poverty-focused international assistance by $1.3 million or 4 percent. The increase included $5 million for global nutrition, bringing annual nutrition funding to a total of $150 million.
“The $5 million increase will allow 50,000 more children suffering from severe acute malnutrition and 200,000 women with anemia receive treatment,” said Heather Valentine, director of government relations at Bread for the World.
The legislation also provides protection for poverty-focused aid to Central America and food-security aid worldwide. This special oversight gives Congress the ability to ensure food-security funds are being disbursed and are not in danger of cuts at the end of the fiscal year.
Congress also increased funding for poverty-focused domestic programs as well. The most substantial increases went to low-income housing programs and education for low-income children.
Early Head Start Child Care Partnerships received enough funding to ensure access for several thousand more families with young children. Child nutrition programs were funded at $474 million, providing meals for an estimated 31 million children.
The WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counseling Program received an additional $30 million which is enough to staff peer counselors in every WIC agency across the country for the first time.
The appropriations package fully funds the First Step Act—the criminal justice reform bill that Bread helped pass last year—and increases funding for Second Chance re-entry grants. These grants will help organizations continue to provide education and employment training and programs for individuals who were formerly incarcerated.
It also funds the U.S. Census, which will reduce under-counting of low-income people and increase federal funding for low-income communities.
However, in December Congress also passed a $427 billion package of tax cuts that will benefit businesses and corporations, yet again neglecting to expand tax credits for low-income families and workers.
Bread for the World’s government relations staff contributed to this article.
The appropriations package provided the first substantial increase since 2010 for programs aimed at helping people in the United States struggling with poverty.
Afghanistan would be considered likely to have high rates of hunger because at least two of the major causes of global hunger affect it—armed conflict and fragile governmental institutions.
Malnutrition is responsible for nearly half of all preventable deaths among children under 5. Every year, the world loses hundreds of thousands of young children and babies to hunger-related causes.
Bread for the World is calling on the Biden-Harris administration and Congress to build a better 1,000-Days infrastructure in the United States.
“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in faith.” These words from Colossians 2:6 remind us of the faith that is active in love for our neighbors.
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The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is designed to respond to changes in need, making it well suited to respond to crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bread for the World and its partners are asking Congress to provide $200 million for global nutrition.
In 2017, 11.8 percent of households in the U.S.—40 million people—were food-insecure, meaning that they were unsure at some point during the year about how they would provide for their next meal.