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Washington, D.C. – Bread for the World welcomes last night’s introduction of a $1.o1 trillion spending bill in the House of Representatives that funds most of the federal government through September 2015. The bill is expected to pass in the next couple of days.
“Earlier this year, Congress cut funding for SNAP (formerly food stamps) and unemployment insurance, so we’re pleased that the 2015 funding package does not include big cuts to programs that help people living in poverty. Congress has been able to avoid budget brinksmanship and looks to be giving us a second year of government stability,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “The respite from budget brinksmanship contributes to economic recovery and will hopefully allow Congress to focus on improvements in the job market, continuing stability, and fostering economic growth.”
In the 2015 budget, poverty-focused development assistance (PFDA) will be funded at a slightly higher level than in the FY 2014 budget, largely in part due to emergency funds to fight Ebola in West Africa.
Domestically, anti-hunger programs will remain funded at about the same levels as last year. WIC is funded at $6.623 billion, a slight decrease from FY 2014 but still enough to cover current and projected caseloads. The commodity supplemental food program, which provides food to seniors, was expanded to seven new states with an additional $2.8 million in funding. Schools will see $25 million allocated to purchase kitchen equipment and help expand school breakfast programs.
Resources were provided to help address factors that push undocumented workers into the United States, such as poverty, hunger, and violence in Central America. Also, the legislation calls for the secretary of state and the U.S. Agency for International Development administrator to develop a strategy to address the key factors that drove Central American children to migrate to the United States in droves last summer. This is an advocacy victory that Bread for the World has long been seeking.
“The package includes funds to deal with Ebola in West Africa and addresses the poverty and violence that is driving desperate immigrants from Central America. Both of these situations clearly demonstrate that it’s not smart to neglect misery in far-off places,” said Beckmann.
He said Bread expects members of Congress from both parties to work together in 2015 on a big package of tax breaks for businesses and high-income people. But Bread for the World will be pushing to include tax credits for low-income workers in this new tax bill.
“We also hope there will be opportunities to pass bipartisan legislation to address the problem of mass incarceration in our country, especially among African-American and Latino people,” said Beckmann. “People with a criminal record are often unable to get back into the job market for years, so over-incarceration is an important cause of hunger and poverty in many families and communities.”
Bread for the World strongly urges Congress to pass the omnibus FY 2015 budget bill before it closes tomorrow.
By Marlysa D. Gamblin and Kathleen King
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