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It's not too late to call
The original action alert I posted asked for calls to go into your senators on Monday - thank you for all of you that have already called! The calls are making a difference! If you haven't had a chance to call yet, it is not too late. Below is an update on the status and a slightly more nuanced message highlighting some specific amendments we can support. Let me know what you hear after you call. Thanks!!!
The full Senate is currently debating the budget, and we expect the debate will continue into Thursday evening, March 16. We’ve heard encouraging news that Senators Santorum (R-PA) and Durbin (D-IL) are likely to offer an amendment calling for a $566 million increase in the International Affairs account, specifically for HIV/AIDS, Tb and Malaria. Bread for the World and the ONE Campaign support this amendment. Other senators are also likely to introduce positive amendments. One would restore funding for proven, poverty-focused programs that the president cut in his budget, while another could just be a general increase to the International Affairs. Not all the news is good, however. We’ve also heard that Senator Ensign (R-NV) will propose an amendment to substantially cut the International Affairs account and shift the money to Veterans’ Affairs. Bread for the World opposes the Ensign amendment and any others that would cut the International Affairs budget.
Your continued calls to your senators are welcomed and needed. Please call your senators as soon as possible, but before midday Thursday, and urge them to support the Santorum-Durbin amendment and any amendments that increase the International Affairs budget, and oppose the Ensign Amendment and any amendments that cut the International Affairs budget. Tell them the Senate Budget Committee's recommendation is NOT adequate to fight global poverty, hunger and disease. You may use the toll free number 1-800-826-3688 to reach your senator (this will connect you to the Capitol switchboard, where you will ask for your senators’ offices.)
Background: The International Affairs budget needs to be expanded to allow for a $5 billion increase in poverty-focused development assistance. The Senate Budget Committee has recommended a level of funding for the International Affairs account that is $2 billion below the president’s request - AND the president's request was already too low. It is vital that the budget for International Affairs is large enough to allow space for the decisions Congress must make later this year on exact funding levels for programs that help achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
*** [Remember, the full Senate is meeting right now and expects to finish debate on the budget Thursday evening. The House Budget Committee has not met yet - they postponed meeting until the week of March 28 - so we will need to keep pressure on the representatives to do better.]***
Thanks for all you do for hungry and poor people! Keep up the good work and the good pressure on our members of Congress!
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