Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger
 

Please Call Your Senator Today

I know it's finals time, but if you need a 5-minute break from all the studying/writing/testing, please call your Senator with the message below.  It's really important.  Drop me a line and let me know how the call goes.  Thanks so much!

Bread For The World QUICKLINE
Sign-on to DeWine-Feinstein letter

Please call your Senator by Friday, May 5, at 1-800-826-3688, and ask him/her to sign the DeWine-Feinstein letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee leaders. Foreign operations should be funded no lower than the president’s request of $23.7 billion.

[Note: This special, toll-free number will go directly to the Capitol switchboard, where you will ask to be connected to your member’s office in order to leave your message.]

The following Senators have already signed this letter.  If one of them is your Senator, you can call and thank them for signing the letter.  Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Mike DeWine (R-OH), Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Tim Johnson (D-SD), John Kerry (D-MA), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Carl Levin (D-MI), Patty Murray (D-WA), Rick Santorum (R-PA), John Sununu (R-NH), George Voinovich (R-OH)

 

Background: In order to meet our promises to the world’s poorest people, Congress needs to provide an increase of $5 billion in poverty-focused development assistance every year for the next 5 years. Right now we are not on track to meet this goal.

A key moment in the budget and appropriations process is the setting of the allocations to each of the appropriations subcommittees. These allocations, called "302b allocations" on Capitol Hill, establish the ceiling for each committee’s work. The rest of the appropriations process becomes essentially a battle over how to distribute the money to the various programs within the subcommittee’s scope. The chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee is about to announce the 302b allocation for each of the subcommittees, including foreign operations.

The Foreign Operations Subcommittee of Appropriations is the focus for our efforts to achieve increases in poverty-focused development assistance. Last year, the Foreign Operations Subcommittee had an allocation of $20.6 billion to work with. This year the Bush administration requested an allocation of $23.7 billion to the subcommittee, one of the few areas of the budget outside of defense and homeland security where the administration asked for an increase. Congress, however, appears unwilling to allocate even the president’s request for foreign operations, but $23.7 billion is the minimum needed to begin to meet our promises to the world and reduce global poverty.

The prospect of having to make cuts in popular domestic programs while boosting funding for international assistance does not sit well with many in Congress, especially in an election year. So there is substantial pressure to cut back the president’s request for foreign operations in order to have more for domestic spending. Congress needs to recognize, however, that all poverty-focused development assistance amounts to less than one half of one percent of our federal budget. They should not be cutting programs that help poor and hungry people at home or abroad.

Bread for the World is urging Congress to set the 302b allocation for foreign operations at the president’s request of $23.7 billion. Senators DeWine (R-OH), Feinstein (D-CA), Santorum (R-PA), and Durbin (D-IL) have also drafted a letter to Appropriations Committee leaders Senators Cochran (R-MS) and Byrd (D-WV), which urges the leaders to allocate, at a minimum, the president’s budget request for international affairs. A strong list of signers to the DeWine-Feinstein letter will put more pressure on Congress to provide substantial increases in poverty-focused development assistance and get us closer to the goal of a $5 billion increase for programs that reduce hunger, poverty and disease around the world. Your call is crucial to encourage your senator to sign on to this letter.

Points to consider:

*In 2000, 189 countries, including the United States, agreed to a set of eight specific goals – the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – to substantially reduce hunger, poverty and disease in our world. To achieve the MDGs, the U.S. share of the needed resources would be $25 billion by 2010.

*When the leaders of the world’s most powerful countries gathered last summer in Scotland, President Bush committed to double aid to Africa and globally by 2010.

*Currently the United States contributes less than one half of 1 percent of our federal budget for poverty-focused development assistance. We can do better than this.

*The United States currently spends about $5 billion on the war on terrorism every four days.

Your voice is needed. Study after study has documented that the most influential person with members of Congress is you, their constituent. Please call today.

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