Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

Rep. Jeb Hensarling: Families in Texas are Struggling

111004_JebHensarling [Editors’ note: For the next few weeks, we’ll be running a series of posts on the Bread Blog about each member of the Super Committee. If you live in Rep. Jeb Hensarling’s district, please share this blog post with your local family and friends, and message Rep. Hensarling on his Facebook page or through Twitter.]

My grandfather used to say, “It’s never as easy as it looks,” prompting me to rethink a problem or look at the big picture. This is good advice for families trying to make ends meet, and surely it is good advice for Congress as well.  Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) is serving as co-chair of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (or Super Committee) to look at ways to reduce our nation’s deficit. The Super Committee has much latitude and can make recommendations on anything. They could raise additional taxes; make more spending cuts; cut defense spending; let tax cuts for wealthy Americans expire; or make changes to anything else in the federal budget.

Ferrell Foster of Eustace, TX, who works for the Baptist General Convention of Texas as associate director of Texas Baptists’ Advocacy/Care Center recently told me that, "the United States is not going to balance its budget by cutting the aid it provides for overseas hunger relief and poverty alleviation. These dollars are small potatoes for the U.S. budget, but they are vitally important to these international efforts. Many of these funds also have a positive impact back home in the American economy because they are often used to purchase American commodities and services.”

He also said, "Many of us are fiscal conservatives who believe that a government should live within its financial means. That conservatism, however, is mixed with a compassion for those who need help in lifting themselves out of poverty. George W. Bush called it ‘compassionate conservatism.’”

It would be easy to just make across-the-board cuts evenly across the budget so that all programs take the same size hit, but the budget is not only our blueprint for spending—it is a moral document that says who we are by what we pay for.  Right now, 17.6 percent of households in Texas’s 5th congressional district struggled to put food on the table in 2010 (compared to 14.6 percent nation-wide). Also, more than one in seven people in the 5th district, including nearly one in four children (or almost 25 percent) live below the poverty line, which is $22,113 for a family of four.

We have a moral obligation to protect the most vulnerable among us. Join me in asking Rep. Hensarling to form a circle of protection around programs that help hungry and poor people in our district, throughout the country and around the world. Call Rep. Hensarling at 1-800-826-3688.

Marco Grimaldo is a Bread for the World regional organizer who serves Texas.

Official photo of Rep. Jeb Hensarling.


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Thanks for the focus on the supercommittee - I have heard much about it but hadn't spent the time to learn about its individual members!

Thanks for sharing such valuable information. Keep posting such great info for us, thanks.

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