Advocates Prepare for a Busy Fall
Bread for the World's Lobby Day, June 2013, Washington, DC. (Joseph Molieri/Bread for the World)
The leaves are piling up as fast as the legislative priorities this month. October is going to be busy —we will be calling on you often and your voice will be absolutely critical in helping those struggling with hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world.
The annual appropriations to fund the U.S. government ran out at midnight on Sept. 30 and an ongoing congressional stalemate around the budget will have both short-term and long-term consequences for anti-hunger programs (see “What Does the Government Shutdown Mean for Hunger” for a comprehensive analysis). We expect another partisan fight around the debt ceiling, which Congress needs to raise by Oct. 17 in order to prevent the nation from defaulting on its financial obligations. It is possible that the two crises could merge into one larger battle.
What has become clear in the first few days of the government shutdown is that the programs that are already feeling the sting of sequestration are experiencing an even greater impact. WIC, international food aid, and poverty-focused development assistance are all facing funding interruptions. The longer the shutdown continues, the greater the harm both to anti-hunger programs and, more broadly, the economy.
Email Congress today and tell your senators and representative to pass a responsible budget that addresses sequestration, end the U.S. government shutdown, and raise the debt ceiling without political games or causing more harm to those in need. Getting through on the telephone may be difficult during the government shutdown, so we encourage you to contact your members of Congress via email.
The nine-month extension of the farm bill expired on Oct. 1 and the path forward is still unclear. Until the House appoints conferees, negotiations toward a final bill with the Senate cannot begin. The House proposal cuts SNAP by nearly $40 billion and international food aid by $2.5 billion. As with the budget battles, the longer the expiration, the greater the long-term effects on vulnerable populations. It is also possible that the farm bill could become embroiled in both the budget and debt ceiling negotiations. Regardless, October and November will provide several opportunities for advocates to be heard.
The House continues to signal that it will take up immigration legislation in late October or early November. There will be several events taking place in Washington, D.C., and across the nation, to urge Congress to act on comprehensive immigration reform.
Bread for the World, as a coalition partner with the Evangelical Immigration Table, is asking churches across the country to host prayer gatherings during the week of Oct. 12-20. Bread members are invited to join either by participating in a gathering that is already planned or by hosting and planning your own event. The Evangelical Immigration Table is hosting a series of regional Pray4Reform events—it has created a map that provides information on where gatherings are happening across the country and a step-by-step guide to creating your own groups to pray for comprehensive immigration reform.
Email Congress and tell your members to support comprehensive immigration reform that addresses the root causes of undocumented immigration and the high rates of hunger experienced by undocumented individuals living in the United States.
We will be following all of these issues closely and will keep you updated on Bread Blog. At critical moments we will send action alerts to you by email—please take action and help us amplify our messages by spreading the word to your friends and family. Finally, on Oct. 15, join Bread’s policy and organizing staff, and a guest from the White House Office of Public Engagement, for a special update on these issues.
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