Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger
 

Meet the Budget Conference Committee

Patty Murray
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), chairman of the Senate budget committee, speaks about the importance of telling the stories behind the statistics during Bread for the World’s 2012 Lobby Day reception while President David Beckmann listens. (Rick Reinhard)

Between now and Dec. 13, the members of Congress listed below will be spending a good deal of time together as they attempt to come up with a bipartisan budget compromise. Their choices and proposals will have an impact on hunger in the years to come.

Last week, Congress reached an eleventh-hour agreement to pass a continuing resolution and raise the country's debt ceiling. The deal averted an economic catastrophe — for now.  The deal funds the government at current levels through Jan. 15, 2014, and raises the debt ceiling through Feb. 7, 2014 — just a temporary fix for the same problem and a new deadline for solving it.

While not written into the legislation, the deal also created a budget conference committee to negotiate a budget for the remainder of the 2014 fiscal year and address the automatic spending cuts of sequestration. The committee must report back to Congress with a budget framework by Dec. 13. This would give the House and Senate Appropriations Committees one month to finalize a  fiscal year 2014 budget. 

The members of the committee have no easy task ahead of them as they try to negotiate the House and Senate budgets, which have a $91 billion difference. The overall size of the pie will determine the amount of funding available for anti-hunger discretionary programs, which are stepping-stones to a hunger-free future. Sequestration, unless replaced, will continue to chip away at funding for programs such as food aid, WIC, Head Start, and Meals on Wheels. Defunding programs that address the root causes of  hunger  is not a solution.

These leaders also have an opportunity to end the series of unnecessary crises, which puts our country's fragile economy at risk and makes struggling families uneasy and uncertain about the future. Congress must pass a moral budget that adequately funds programs that combat hunger and poverty. Moreover, Congress must replace sequestration with a balanced plan that has revenues and smart spending cuts that won’t increase poverty.

So, starting now and until Dec. 13, faithful advocates whose members of Congress sit on the conference committee need to support those leaders and urge them to do the right thing. Make phone calls and email them. Public dialogue can create public pressure, and raising your voice is critical to avoiding cuts that will take food off the tables of families who most need it. Write letters to the editor of your local paper supporting smart budget decisions that decrease hunger. Send your members of Congress public messages of encouragement and support on their Facebook and Twitter pages. Finally, be sure they know how hunger and uncertainty are affecting Main Street at home – tell the story.

Here is a sample tweet and Facebook post you can borrow, or you can craft one of your own.

Tweet: We need a moral budget to #EndHungerNow @RepPaulRyan. Replace #sequestration with revenue & smart spending cuts. #BreadActs

Facebook status update:  I’m urging Representative @Paul Ryan to use his position on the budget conference community to #EndHungerNow. Craft a moral budget that replaces sequestration with revenue and smart spending cuts.

The House Budget Conferees

State/District

Representative

Twitter

Phone

Wisconsin -01

Paul Ryan

@RepPaulRyan

(202) 225-3031

Oklahoma – 04

Tom Cole

@tomcoleok04

(202) 225-6165

Georgia – 06

Tom Price

@RepTomPrice

(202) 225-4501

Tennessee – 06

Diane Black

@RepDianeBlack

(202) 225-4231

South Carolina – 06

James Clyburn

@Clyburn

(202) 225-3315

Maryland -08

Chris Van Hollen

@ChrisVanHollen

(202) 225-5341

New York – 17

Nita Lowey

@NitaLowey

(202) 225-6506

*To tag your member of Congress on Facebook, you must first like their page.  To find their page, click on the hyperlink in their name.

The Senate Budget Conferees

State

Senator

Twitter

Phone

Washington

Patty Murray

@PattyMurray

(202) 224-2621

Oregon

Ron Wyden

@RonWyden

(202) 224-5244

Florida

Bill Nelson

@SenBillNelson

(202) 224-5274

Michigan

Debbie Stabenow

@StabenowPress

(202) 224-4822

Vermont

Bernie Sanders

@SenSanders

(202) 224-5141

Rhode Island

Sheldon Whitehouse

@SenWhitehouse

(202) 224-2921

Virginia

Mark Warner

@MarkWarner

(202) 224-2023

Oregon

Jeff Merkley

@SenJeffMerkley

(202) 224-3753

Connecticut

Christopher Coons

@SenCoonsOffice

(202) 224-5042

Wisconsin

Tammy Baldwin

@SenatorBaldwin

(202) 224-5653

Virginia

Tim Kaine

@SenKaineOffice

(202) 224-4024

Maine

Angus King

@SenAngusKing

(202) 224-5344

Alabama

Jeff Sessions

@SenatorSessions

(202) 224-4124

Iowa

Chuck Grassley

@ChuckGrassley

(202) 224-3744

Wyoming

Mike Enzi

@SenatorEnzi

(202) 224-3424

Idaho

Mike Crapo

@MikeCrapo

(202) 224-6142

South Carolina

Lindsey Graham

@GrahamBlog

(202) 224-5972

Ohio

Rob Portman

@robportman

(202) 224-3353

Pennsylvania

Pat Toomey

@SenToomey

(202) 224-4254

Wisconsin

Ron Johnson

@SenRonJohnson

(202) 224-5323

New Hampshire

Kelly Ayotte

@KellyAyotte

202-224-3324

Mississippi

Roger Wicker

@SenatorWicker

(202) 224-6253

*To tag a member of Congress on Facebook, you must first like his or her page. To find the member's page, click on the hyperlink in their name.

 

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