Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

Why Should Congress Protect the Poor?

110927_AmeliaAmelia Kegan, senior policy analyst, presents a briefing during Bread for the World's Lobby Day in Washington, DC, on June 14, 2011. (Photo by Rick Reinhard) 

In a time of national and global economic distress, why should Congress protect the poor? Amelia Kegan, senior policy analyst at Bread for the World, spoke to The Voice of Russia to discuss this very question. Listen to the audio below.

During the interview, Kegan provided some insightful reasons why Congress needs to create a circle of protection around programs for hungry and poor people as they address the budget deficit. First, while media has declared the recession over, families are still suffering from the effects of unemployment, increased poverty rates, and food insecurity. Kegan said:

While the recession may be over, families are still really struggling to be able to put food on the table and when we have unemployment at such high rates, it shows that we need jobs. Right now as members of Congress and the Super Committee are looking for ways to cut the deficit, this is really not the time to cut social safety net programs.

Kegan also addressed questions of whether or not protection for struggling families is a partisan issue. Can legislation in support of the most vulnerable members of our society pass in such a divided Congress? Indeed, it can and it must, Kegan said.

Hunger does not have a party. At Bread for the World, we work on issues that, really, everyone can get behind. Everyone can come to an agreement that those programs that serve the most vulnerable in our country and around the world should not be cut. We shouldn’t be balancing the budget on the backs of the poor and the most vulnerable. I think that is a basic fundamental principle that everyone can get behind. And, you know, there have been other groups that have been looking at these very difficult deficit issues, that have all agreed upon that principle. You look at the Bowles-Simpson recommendations, the "Gang of Six"--and you look at other commissions like the Rivlin-Domenici commission. All these other bipartisan groups have been able to come around and agree upon this fundamental principle that we can’t do deficit reduction on the backs of the poor and vulnerable in our society.

Listen to this excellent interview with Amelia Kegan below, and learn more about hunger and the budget.


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