Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger
 

49 posts categorized "Action Alert"

What is the Future of Immigration Reform?

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A migrant worker piles cucumbers in Blackwater, Virginia, on the farm of Ricky Horton and Sherilyn Shepard on Monday, July 25, 2011. (Laura Elizabeth-Pohl/Bread for the World)

By David Beckmann

Last week's election news stunned the nation. For the first time in modern history, the House majority leader lost a primary election. The big question for Bread for the World members now is: What does Eric Cantor’s loss mean for hungry people, particularly as it relates to immigration reform?

Cantor's loss confirms two things:

  • First, it's not the policy that's holding immigration reform back. Members of Congress get the policy. It's the politics.
  • Second, your voice is more important than ever before! Cantor lost because he failed to spend enough time in his district and pay enough attention to his constituents. If members of Congress are learning anything from Virginia's primary elections, it's that they need to respond to the concerns of their constituents. In most districts — even Cantor's district — polls show constituents want immigration reform.

Use this opportunity to make your voice heard on immigration reform! Call (800-826-3688) or email your U.S. representative today and urge for a vote on immigration reform.

Immigration reform that alleviates poverty in the United States by providing a path to legalization (and thus higher wages and greater opportunity) and examining the conditions of poverty and hunger in migrant-sending countries could be dramatic in our work to end hunger. Too many people have waited too long and suffered too much for us to give up now. It's time to turn immigration reform from an agenda item to an action item. Call (800-826-3688) or email your U.S. representative today!

This year, Bread for the World is celebrating its 40th anniversary. We have four decades of history to show what’s possible when Christians speak out to Congress. Let’s raise our voices and add another victory to the list of progress against hunger!

David Beckmann is president of Bread for the World.

 

Act Now: Support Food-Aid Reform


Lutheran Development Service distributes food to people affected by drought in Swaziland in 2004. Many distributions of U.S. food-aid items are carried out by private relief and development organizations, many of them supported by U.S. churches. Today, Rep. Ed Royce is introducing an amendment to make sure there is money for efficient food-aid programs that will reach more people, faster and at no additional cost. (Stephen H. Padre)

Update: The Royce amendment to fund  passed by a vote of 223 Yeas to 198 Nays. Thank you for your advocacy.

By Ryan Quinn

Yesterday, during Bread for the World’s annual Lobby Day, hundreds of advocates walked the halls of Congress and urged their legislators to enact food-aid reform and immigration reform. Our efforts moved us one step closer to reaching our ultimate goal of ending hunger by 2030, but there is still more work to be done!

Today, Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.-39) is introducing an amendment to the fiscal year 2015 Agriculture Appropriations bill to ensure there is money for more efficient food-aid programs that can reach more people, in a timelier manner— including funding for local and regional purchase programs. This amendment will be on the House floor today!

We need you to call your representative at 800-826-3688 and urge him or her to support the Royce amendment to the Agriculture Appropriations bill (H.R. 4800). This amendment will fund money for local and regional purchase programs, allowing our international food aid to help more people, faster and at no additional cost. Again, this amendment is coming up for a vote today, so please take action now—it’s quick, easy, and will make a huge difference!

Ryan Quinn is Bread for the World's senior international policy analyst.

Many Faiths, One Purpose

By Eric Mitchell

New Testament: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” (Matthew 25:40)

Qu’ran: “the destruction of one innocent life is like the destruction of the whole of humanity and the saving of one life is like the saving of the whole of humanity.” (Al-Ma’idah ”the Tablespread” 5:32)

Hebrew Scripture: “Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? . . (Isaiah 58)

Today, leaders from various faiths and from across the country have come to Washington, D.C., to share their commitment to promoting the dignity of all people, including the world’s most vulnerable.

Representatives of the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faiths, as well as heads of religious organizations, will be on Capitol Hill to speak out in support of funding for lifesaving humanitarian and poverty-focused development assistance programs.

Will you also be part of these efforts and call (800-326-4941) or email your members of Congress today?

Urge your members to robustly fund humanitarian and poverty-focused development assistance accounts within the International Affairs budget as these programs support agricultural development and nutrition, emergency humanitarian assistance, global health, education, gender equality, water and sanitation, and more.

Collectively, as faith leaders and fellow believers alike, motivated by our shared moral beliefs, we can make a difference in advocating for limited federal dollars for these programs. They make up less than 1 percent of the federal budget but are invaluable inlifting millions of people around the world out of hunger, poverty, and disease.

Eric Mitchell is Bread for the World's director of government relations.

2 Million People Could Lose Lifesaving Food Aid

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Women carry their ration of food, after fleeing their homes in the village of Abyei, engulfed by heavy fighting between the Sudan Armed Forces and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army. (UN Photo/Tim McKulka)

By Eric Mitchell

This is outrageous!

The House of Representatives recently voted to deny access to lifesaving food aid to 2 million people around the world.

Why? Because a few very big, very powerful shipping conglomerates demanded preferential treatment at the expense of purchasing food intended to feed people struggling to survive. Lawmakers capitulated.

U.S. food aid should feed hungry people, not hungry shipping conglomerates. Fortunately, the Senate can stop this bad idea from becoming law.

Call (800-326-4941) or email your senators today! Urge them to reject any actions that would increase transportation costs for food aid and prevent hungry people around the world from receiving U.S. food assistance. The House-passed provisions in the Coast Guard spending bill would increase transportation costs for U.S. food aid by $75 million each year and leave at least 2 million vulnerable people without access to lifesaving food-aid programs.

Background:

Last month, an obscure provision was tucked inside a Coast Guard spending bill, which would prevent millions of people in troubled countries around the world from receiving American food aid and cost taxpayers millions of dollars in shipping expenses.

The provision requires 75 percent of U.S. international food aid to be sent on American ships, up from the 50 percent now required by law. An increase in the amount of U.S. food aid that must be transported on American ships jeopardizes the U.S.'s ability to provide lifesaving assistance to millions of children and adults who are facing dire conditions due to conflict and natural disaster. These restrictions would increase transportation costs for U.S. food aid by $75 million each year, and leave 2 million vulnerable people without access to lifesaving food aid.

The Senate is expected to consider this legislation soon. As a constituent, your voice is critical in pushing back! Don't let Congress snatch food from the mouths of millions of hungry people in order to benefit shipping companies.

When 842 million people around the world go hungry every day, making every dollar designated for food aid count is both a responsible use of taxpayer money and a moral imperative. Email or call your senators at 800-326-4941 today!

Thank you for your voice.

Eric Mitchell is Bread for the World's director of government relations.

Act Now: Senate Voting This Week on Unemployment Insurance

Unemployment

By Eric Mitchell

The Senate is about to attempt again to extend unemployment insurance, and this time it may have the votes to pass it! But it will be close.

As early as tomorrow, the Senate may vote on a new bipartisan deal that would reinstate aid for the 2 million people who have been cut off from long-term unemployment assistance.

Please call (800-826-3688) or email your senators right now! Urge them to vote to extend unemployment insurance.

Last time, the Senate was one vote short. But now we have a chance to pass a bill and send a strong message to the House.

Over 2 million unemployed workers have been cut off from aid since emergency unemployment assistance expired on December 28. If Congress doesn't extend emergency unemployment insurance, then 5 million people will see their assistance end in 2014. For so many people spending hours each day searching for a job, this aid ensures that they and their families don't go hungry during a hard spell of unemployment.

Please take just two minutes to call or email your members of Congress. Tell them to vote for extending emergency unemployment insurance.

Your calls, emails, and prayers can make the difference.

Eric Mitchell is Bread for the World's director of government relations.

Tell Congress to Support a Global Nutrition Strategy

Pisano program
Paisano
is a USAID program implemented in Guatemala that aims to address child malnutrition and is highlighted in Bread for the World's 2014 Offering of Letters, "Reforming Food Aid." (Joseph Molieri/Bread for the World)

By Eric Mitchell

Thanks to Bread for the World members, Congress is beginning to recognize the importance of global maternal and child nutrition, particularly in the critical 1,000-day window from pregnancy to age 2 of a child's life.

Last year, funding for global nutrition efforts was increased to $115 million compared to the previous year’s funding of $95 million. That’s nearly a 22 percent increase in funding. Congress is starting to get it. And for good reason, because every $1 invested in nutrition generates as much as $138 in better health and increased productivity.

Last year, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced that it would take the lead in developing a comprehensive nutrition strategy that would serve as the basis for a more robust global nutrition approach for the U.S. government as a whole. Through better coordination of nutrition programs and closer evaluation of the effectiveness of these programs, we can help to end hunger by ensuring that more vulnerable women and children throughout the world are living healthy, productive, and hope-filled lives. USAID is set to release this strategy next month, but before it's unveiled, we need more members of Congress to express their support for this nutrition strategy.

Right now, Reps. Adam Smith (D-9WA) and Ander Crenshaw (R-4FL) are circulating a letter to President Obama expressing support for a nutrition strategy.

Call toll-free: 800-826-3688 or email your representative, and ask him or her to sign the Smith-Crenshaw letter in support of a USAID’s nutrition strategy!

Together, we are making a difference on Capitol Hill and with the administration. Let’s continue to advance the importance of the 1,000 Days movement for vulnerable women and children throughout the world. Our nutritional investments now in young children can have payoffs for years to come.

Eric Mitchell is the director of government relations at Bread for the World.

More than Snow Keeping Nearly 2 Million from Work

DC Snow by RobynToday’s snow day is an inconvenience for members of Congress who can’t get to work, but the snow cannot be blamed for the fact that they have been frozen by inaction around renewing emergency unemployment benefits. That Congress continues to leave 2 million job seekers out in the cold without help, while the market is still weak, is irresponsible and unacceptable.

While senators bicker over how to pay for the extension, 38-year-old former medical biller Trista Selmar-Steed wonders how she can pay for basic necessities, like food. While senators talk about the deficit, Illinois resident Jennifer listens as her phone rings with calls from bill collectors, but no job offers. Without benefits, she doesn’t have access to the resources that could help her find a job, she recently told PBS Newshour. 

The stories of the long-term unemployed all follow a similar path – downhill. Congress can change that by reinstating their benefits. These are people who once got up and went to work each day, paid their bills, and contributed to the economy, but now live the daily nightmare of unemployment. An estimated 200,000 are veterans, and new people are joining the ranks of the long-term unemployed everyday.

There are still three applicants for each job opening in this country; the United States has not reached full employment and January’s jobs report shows growth is anemic and wages are lagging.

For the third time, the Senate is expected to vote on extending unemployment insurance this week. A few weeks ago, Congress failed to advance this bill by just one vote. It is likely that one vote will again determine the outcome. It is also likely that one of three Republicans holds that decision in his hands: Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, or Sen. Dan Coats of Indiana. They must hear from constituents, as well as their colleagues, and be urged to do the right thing.

If your senators are on record with a vote to renew benefits, still call them and tell them they have your support. You may even ask them to reach out to their colleagues Kirk, Portman, and Coats, and ask them to vote to renew emergency unemployment benefits (EUC) immediately. If you are from Indiana, Illinois or Ohio, it is even more urgent that you call 800-826-3688, or send a personal email.

It is easier to build a fence at the top of a cliff than to drive an ambulance to the bottom, goes the adage. Each week that passes without action, more and more Americans are headed in the wrong direction when Congress could easily act on their behalf and help them change course.

Photo: Washington D.C. March 3, 2013 (courtesy of Robyn Johnson).

Call Now! Senate to Vote Tomorrow on Unemployment

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By Eric Mitchell

Tomorrow the Senate will vote on whether to consider reinstating emergency unemployment insurance for the more than 1.7 million unemployed workers who have seen their aid lapse in recent weeks. For many of these jobless individuals, this assistance is their only source of income as they struggle to find work — and feed their families.

Please call (800-826-3688) or email your senators today! Urge them to vote yes on extending unemployment insurance!

This proposal extends unemployment insurance through March, is retroactive to Dec. 28 (when long-term aid expired), and it is completely paid for. The Senate is expected to vote tomorrow on a motion to advance the bill. We believe they are just a couple of votes shy!

Take two minutes right now and call or email your senators and urge them to VOTE YES on extending unemployment insurance.

Eric Mitchell is Bread for the World's director of government relations.

Renew Unemployment: This is Getting Desperate

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Each week Congress does not act, 72,000 people lose the emergency unemployment benefits that help support their families as they search for work (Joseph Mollieri/Bread for the World).

By Eric Mitchell

The situation is getting desperate. More than 1.6 million unemployed workers have now been cut off from emergency unemployment insurance. For many of them, this is their only source of income as they struggle to find work.

Last night, President Obama made a powerful call to reinstate unemployment insurance. But there's a voice that's even more powerful to members of Congress — yours!

Call (800-826-3688) or email your members of Congress today! Tell them to reinstate unemployment insurance without delay!

Every day that Congress fails to extend unemployment insurance, it becomes harder to reinstate necessary assistance. We cannot give up on the unemployed, and neither should Congress! Unemployment insurance helps people look for work, put food on the table, and keep their homes. It provides a sense of security during difficult and stressful times.

Urge your representative and your senators to press on until unemployed workers see their insurance extended.

Call or email your members of Congress today, and urge them to extend unemployment assistance immediately.

Eric Mitchell is the director of government relations at Bread for the World.

1.5 Million Left Out in the Cold

Unemployment

By Eric Mitchell

Congress is leaving town again. And again — as they did before recessing for the holidays — they are leaving 1.5 million Americans out in the cold without unemployment assistance. Every additional week that Congress fails to act, another 72,000 unemployed workers continue to lose their benefits.

Only one thing will get Congress to take action — YOU!

Only a barrage of phone calls and emails will get Congress to extend unemployment insurance. Even if you've already called, please call again. Even senators and representatives who support extending unemployment insurance are giving up. Don't let them!

Call (800-326-4941) or email your members of Congress today!

Demand that unemployment insurance be extended immediately! Tell your representative and senators to press on until unemployed workers see their benefits extended. For many people, unemployment insurance is all they have right now, and Congress is cutting them off!

The economy is improving, but the job market is still tough. Even with recent economic growth, 10.4 million people are unemployed, and there are still 1.2 million fewer jobs than when the Great Recession started in 2008. Nearly two-thirds of the unemployed have been looking for work for more than six months. Unemployment insurance supports people while they look for work. It helps people put food on the table, keep their homes, and provides a sense of security during difficult times.

Call or email your members of Congress today, and tell them to extend unemployment assistance without delay.

Eric Mitchell is director of government relations at Bread for the World.

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