Clap Your Hands Say YEAH!
Last week, many of you probably received action alerts from us and/or the ONE Campaign asking you to call your senators (If you don't get the alerts, sign up here!). The ask was to urge them to save vital foreign assistance funding that was in danger of being dramatically cut and in case you didn't hear already, the results of your calls and the Senate vote are in and I'm here to report:
Very, Very Good News!
Early Friday morning of last week, the Senate decided overwhelmingly to restore the $4.1 Billion shortfall in the International Affairs Budget - which recommends funding levels for federal programs including effective anti-poverty efforts. The "Biden-Lugar Amendment" (S. Amdt 4245) passed 73-23 with overwhelming bipartisan support! (See how your senators voted here)
So here's what happened... Earlier last week, we asked you to called to support the Feinstein (D-CA) - Smith (R-OR) amendment to restore $2.6 billion to the International Affairs function of the FY09 budget resolution. Shortly after calls started to flood in (there were nearly a thousand calls from Bread supporters alone), we learned that Senators Biden (D-DE) and Lugar (R-IN) had decided to do even better and sponsor an amendment that brought the International Affairs back to the level of the president's request of $39.8 billion - a $4.1 Billion increase. So we turned our attention to the Biden-Lugar amendment which contained this bigger increase--and that amendment passed.
Bottom line: we couldn't have done this without you. This victory signals the power of grassroots demands for building a more just world. Moreover, this is an important first step in Bread for the World's campaign to increase poverty-focused development assistance by $5 billion next year.
Yet our work is not done. The budget resolution is just a spending blueprint and does not dictate the details of how this money should be spent. However the budget does send an important signal to appropriators who will be making these final decisions, and last Friday's vote shows the broad support these programs have.
Let's build on this momentum. Can you write a letter to the editor? Over the next few days, your local papers may run stories about the federal budget. We need to make sure the story focuses on what the budget resolution could mean for reducing poverty and giving hope to millions of our brothers and sisters around the world.
We also want to thank the senators that voted in favor of the amendment, and call those into account who did not. We have sample talking points if you need help getting started (see the 'comment' under this post), but your letter is always more likely to get published if it is original and comes from the heart. Please consider writing one, and if you have any questions, you can e-mail or call Shawnda Hines, Grassroots Media Associate at Bread, at [email protected] or at 888-752-7323 x2.
Thank you again for your passion for working to end hunger in our time.
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