Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger
 

43 posts categorized "Action Alert"

House to Vote on $40 Billion in SNAP Cuts

Capitol_bldg_flickr_usr_smaedliBy Eric Mitchell

Members of Congress returned to Washington, D.C., this week and their schedule is packed. One of the first things on the docket is a proposal to cut SNAP (formerly food stamps) by $40 billion. If approved, the cuts would be twice the amount included in a bill that House members voted on in June. We cannot allow Congress to pass such an extreme proposal.

On Tuesday, I was on Capitol Hill with Bread for the World staff opposing these outrageous cuts. Congress is under intense pressure to cut SNAP—it’s critical that you raise your voice and tell your representative to protect this vital program! Send an email or call now! If enacted, these cuts would kick millions of people off the program and place a greater burden on churches and charities that are already struggling to provide enough food assistance. For example:

  • Across the country, 2 to 4 million adults without dependents would lose benefits. SNAP already has strict work requirements but this proposal would require individuals to find work at times when jobs are scarce.
  • Nearly 2 million more people, primarily seniors and those in low-income working families, would lose benefits due to changes in eligibility rules.
  • In 2011, private churches and charities provided approximately $4 billion in food assistance, compared to $98 billion provided by federal nutrition programs. Churches and charities would have to nearly double their current food assistance to make up the difference.

On Nov. 1, all SNAP households will see their monthly benefits reduced whether this proposal passes or fails. Now is not the time to cut SNAP.

We expect the House to vote on this proposal as early as Wednesday. Email or call your representative today and urge him or her to vote against deep and harmful cuts to SNAP. Use our toll-free number, 800-826-3688, to be connected to the Capitol switchboard or click here to send an email.

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

Photo of U.S. Capitol taken by flickr user smaedli.

Tag, Congress: You're It

Natasha
Smart phones can be a powerful tool for advocates who want to make their message public through social media networks. Most members of Congress are on both Twitter and Facebook. Nicole Rushing (left) and Natasha Bisbal (right) listen to Joe Martingale (not pictured) at Bread for the World's Lobby Day in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, June 12, 2012 (Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World).

It’s time to let members of Congress know that  must help those facing hunger and poverty – tag your members  on social media and remind them of this moral responsibility. Using Twitter and Facebook, you can help amplify the message that a small group of faithful advocates are taking to Capitol Hill today: create a circle of protection around SNAP and make ending hunger a priority.

Over the next couple of weeks, members of the House of Representatives will vote on a nutrition-only farm bill that would cut $40 billion from the SNAP program over 10 years — a devastating prospect that could increase hunger for as many as 6 million U.S. citizens. We have identified 14 members of the House of Representatives who will be key votes and they need to hear from you today.

If you use Twitter, tag your member with a message or make up your own. For example: 

Rep. @bachusal06 vote NO on SNAP cuts and make ending hunger a priority #circleofprotection 

On Facebook, tell your story on the wall of your member or tag him or her in a message on your wall (you need to like your member's official page in order to do this). For example:

I’m asking @Don Young to Vote NO on SNAP cuts that would take food off the table of as many as 6 million Americans. Ending hunger should be a priority and a farm bill that cuts SNAP by $40 billion will only increase the struggle for our most vulnerable citizens during these tough economic times.

Below is a list of key representatives that Bread for the World will be meeting with today. If your member is on this list, tag him or her in a tweet or a Facebook post and help us amplify the message that now is not the time to cut SNAP.

 

State/Dist

Representative

Twitter

Facebook

AL-06

Spencer Bachus

@BachusAL06

@Spencer Bachus

AK-at large

Don Young

@repdonyoung

@Don Young

KY-05

Hal Rogers

@RepHalRogers

@Harold Rogers

NJ-02

Frank LoBiondo

@replobiondo

@Frank LoBiondo

NJ-04

Chris Smith

@RepChrisSmith

@Christopher Smith

NJ-11

Rodney Frelinghuysen

@USRepRodney

@Rodney Frelinghuysen

NY-11

Michael Grimm

@repmichaelgrimm

@Rep. Michael Grimm

NY-19

Chris Gibson

@RepChrisGibson

@Congressman Chris Gibson

NY-22

Richard Hanna

@RepRichardHanna

@U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna

NY-02

Peter King

@RepPeteKing

@Peter King

OH-14

David Joyce

@RepDaveJoyce

@Rep. Dave Joyce

PA-07

Patrick Meehan

@RepMeehan

@Congressman Patrick Meehan

PA-08

Michael Fitzpatrick

@RepFitzpatrick

@Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick

VA-10

Frank Wolf

@RepWOLFPress

@Congressman Frank Wolf

 

If you don't see your member's name listed here, that doesn't mean that their vote isn't important or that it isn't critical to get in touch with them today! Find him or her on Facebook or Twitter and send them a message asking them to protect SNAP.

If you’re not active on social media your voice can still make an difference.  Email or call your representative today and urge him or her to vote against $40 billion in cuts to SNAP. Use our toll-free number, 1-800-826-3688, to be connected to the Capitol switchboard or click here to send an email. 

Join Us on the Hill Tomorrow: Travel Not Required

IMG_5736
Faithful advocates during Bread for the World's annual lobby day in Washington D.C., on June, 11, 2013 (Rick Reinhart).

Congress is back in session this week and it’s a busy time for legislators. They have only nine working days before the end of the fiscal year and they are facing multiple priorities and pressure from various special interests. On Tuesday, a group of grassroots advocates from across the nation will walk the marble halls of Congress representing God’s special interest: ending hunger and poverty. We are counting on you to help amplify their messages on SNAP and the budget.

On the agenda for the House is a proposal that would cut $40 billion from the SNAP program over 10 years. We can't let this vote be lost in the noise—the consequences are far too serious. For example:

  • Across the country, 2 to 4 million adults without dependents would lose benefits. SNAP already has strict work requirements but this proposal would require individuals to find work at times when jobs are scarce.
  • Nearly 2 million more people, primarily seniors and those in low-income working families, would lose benefits due to changes in eligibility rules.
  • In 2011, private churches and charities provided approximately $4 billion in food assistance, compared to $98 billion provided by federal nutrition programs. Churches and charities would have to nearly double their current food assistance to make up the difference.

Decisions made during the next few months will impact the lives of vulnerable people, both at home and abroad, for years to come. Failure to reach a compromise could mean a government shutdown that would harm vulnerable groups, some of whom have already suffered through program cuts and reductions because of sequestration, such as Meals on Wheels recipients.

The worst-case scenario? If Congress increases defense investments by cutting anti-hunger programs — something they could quietly do if it weren't for advocates like you paying attention. 

Faithful advocates can ensure that members of Congress don’t play partisan games with programs that help people who experience hunger. But in order to do so we must remain vigilant and speak up loudly — or risk losing ground on decades of progress against hunger. We must talk about the real consequences of poverty, both on the Hill and in our hometowns. 

Members of Congress need to hear that they must create a circle of protection around programs that decrease hunger.  They must enact a responsible budget and replace sequestration with a balanced approach that includes revenue. 

Tomorrow, join us from your home or office by making phone calls, emailing, or even using social media to get the message across that ending hunger is a priority. Stay tuned for additional details on how you can join us tomorrow, from wherever you are.

The Time for Immigration Reform is Now

Pray_for_reform_gatheringBy David Beckmann

Today, I’m meeting with members of Congress, calling on them to pass an immigration reform bill that creates a path out of poverty for hard-working families. We will be joined by hundreds of evangelical leaders gathering in Washington to pray and take action for reform. Amplify my voice and the voice of all these other faith leaders by asking your representative to support an immigration reform bill that is rooted in biblical teachings.

Our faith calls upon us to care for our neighbors and speak out on behalf of those in need. Undocumented immigrants in the United States disproportionately experience hunger — and many are driven to the United States by hunger and poverty in their countries of origin. That is why Congress must approach immigration as a hunger issue, both in this country and abroad.

Compassionate and inclusive reform will reduce hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world, create jobs, and help reduce the national deficit.

Call or email your U.S. representative and urge passage of an immigration reform bill that includes a path to citizenship. Use our toll-free number: 1-800-326-4941.

You can learn more about immigration reform and Bread's position here.

David Beckmann is president of Bread for the World.

Photo: Bread for the World and other organizations participated in a Pray4Reform prayer vigil for just immigration reform in Washington, D.C., on June 27, 2013. (Joseph Molieri/Bread for the World).

Faith Groups Address the House Farm Bill

Gathering_worshpA number of faith groups, including Bread for the World, sent the following letter to the House of Representatives regarding the version of the farm bill that the House is expected to vote on today.  You can also  lend your voice by calling your representative today and urging him or her to vote “no” on this farm bill. Call 1-800-326-4941, ask for your representative, and leave a message telling him or her to opposed any farm bill that cuts international food aid and leaves nutrition programs vulnerable to deep cuts.

July 11, 2013

Dear Representative:

As people of faith working to reduce hunger and poverty and urging sustainable stewardship of our resources, we urge you to oppose proposals to dismantle the farm bill. Proposals to “split” the farm bill will put critical programs, particularly SNAP (formerly food stamps), at risk of deep cuts and harmful policy changes.

Passing a farm bill that contains only the farm policies and commodity provisions would almost certainly lead to a nutrition bill with SNAP cuts that far exceed even the $20 billion proposed in the earlier version of the farm bill. Thus, we view a vote in favor of a separate farm policy bill as a vote in favor of uncertainty and possibly catastrophic cuts to SNAP.

Our nation’s food and farm policies as embodied in the farm bill impact people and communities from rural America to developing countries.  Historically, there have been good reasons to connect good nutrition policy with good farm policy, and this partnership is essential to the long-term health of all of the programs involved.  Splitting the farm bill and making SNAP vulnerable to deep cuts will not only hamper the ability of low-income Americans to put meals on the table, but will also have negative consequences for food producers as well. According to USDA, 16 cents of every dollar spent on food goes back to farmers.

We urge the House to work on a comprehensive farm bill that protects and strengthens nutrition programs and encourages sustainable stewardship of our resources.

Sincerely,

American Friends Service Committee

Bread for the World

Church World Service

Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach

Disciples Justice Action Network

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Jewish Council for Public Affairs     

MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger

National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd

National Catholic Rural Life Conference

National Council of Jewish Women

Office of Social Justice, Christian Reformed Church in North America

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A)

Union for Reform Judaism

United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries

The United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society

Action Needed: House Farm Bill Vote Today

US_Capitol_from_NW

Late Wednesday, in a last-minute move, House leadership released a farm bill that does not include the nutrition title, which is the section in the bill that includes SNAP (formerly food stamps). The House is expected to vote on the bill early today. Bread for the World strongly opposes this splitting of the farm bill—which leaves nutrition programs such as SNAP vulnerable to deep cutsand the passage of any farm bill that cuts SNAP and food aid.

In this period of slow economic recovery, more than 47 million of individuals across the United States depend on the SNAP program to put food on their tables.  

Bread for the World is urging our members to call their representatives early today and urge them to vote “no” on this farm bill. Call 1-800-326-4941, ask for your representative, and leave a message telling him or her that any farm bill that cuts international food aid and leaves nutrition programs vulnerable to deep cuts.

Earlier this year, the Senate passed a bill that included $4.1 billion in cuts to SNAP but included needed improvements to food aid.  The House bill that failed passage last month would have slashed SNAP by nearly $21 billion, and international food aid by $2.5 billion (Bread for the World opposed these cuts).  Any final bill out of the House must be reconciled with the Senate version in a conference for final passage, and then must be signed by the president.

Vulnerable populations both here and abroad should not pay the price for partisan gridlock in Congress. Splitting the farm bill not only harms a program that has kept millions of struggling families on stable ground during tough economic times, it’s not an economically sound move. With 16 cents of every dollar spent on food going back to farmers and other producers, splitting the farm bill and making nutrition programs such as SNAP vulnerable to deep cuts will not only hamper the ability of people to buy food, but have consequences for those involved in the farming, manufacturing, and processing of our food.

Farm-bill-spending blog

Act Now: Include Ending Hunger in the House Immigration Bill

US_Capitol_from_NW

Photo:  Matt H. Wade/UpstateNYer

By Eric Mitchell

This week, leadership within the House of Representatives is expected to begin discussion on how the body will approach immigration reform.

With your help, we made history by passing bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform legislation in the Senate. Now, we need you to move the House of Representatives!

Call your representative today! Urge him or her to support comprehensive immigration reform.

Tell your representative to support immigration reform that

  1. addresses the root causes of undocumented immigration, such as extreme poverty in countries of origin, and
  2. does not discourage or prohibit legal immigrants and their U.S. citizen family members from receiving needed assistance through federal programs such as WIC, SNAP, and EITC.

Bread for the World recognizes that undocumented immigrants in the United States disproportionately experience hunger. That’s why faithful immigration reform must treat immigration as a hunger issue — both here and abroad. Learn more about immigration and hunger here.

As the House takes up this issue, it needs to know that a faithful constituency is paying attention. Call your representative at 800-826-3688, or email him or her, today.

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

Act Now: Include Ending Hunger in the Senate Immigration Bill


US_Capitol_from_NW
Photo:  Matt H. Wade/UpstateNYer

By Eric Mitchell

Immigration and hunger are closely related. Each day, individuals make the difficult decision to leave their countries and their families to escape extreme poverty.

Meanwhile, undocumented immigrants in the United States disproportionately experience hunger. That’s why faithful immigration reform must address hunger as an immigration issue both here and abroad. Together, we can make that happen.

This week, the Senate is expected to vote on the bipartisan immigration reform bill (S. 744), and your voice is critical. Amendments will be offered that can increase or decrease hunger.

Call your U.S. senators today! Urge them to support comprehensive immigration reform.

Tell your senators to

  1. support any amendment that addresses the root causes of undocumented immigration, such as extreme poverty in countries of origin; and
  2. oppose any amendments that would make it more difficult for undocumented immigrants to earn a path to citizenship or would prohibit authorized immigrants and their citizen family members from receiving needed assistance such as WIC, SNAP, and EITC benefits.

Bread for the World recognizes that this legislation is far from perfect, but failing to pass comprehensive immigration reform is to perpetuate hunger. Learn more about immigration and hunger here.

We are compelled to act for fair reform of our broken immigration system because of Christ’s compassion for the vulnerable and his call for us to care for the stranger (Matthew 25). As the Senate votes on final passage, we must let our members of Congress know that a faithful constituency is paying attention. Call your U.S. senators at 800-326-4941, or email them, today.

Thank you for continuing to use your voice to help ensure a place at the table for all of God’s children, including the 11 million undocumented immigrants who every day contribute to the economy and greatness of our nation.

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

Support International Food Aid Reform in the Farm Bill

http://bread.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8341d945753ef016764fc7775970b-pi  

By David Beckmann

Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) have just introduced an amendment to the Senate Farm Bill that establishes improvements to our international food aid program.

Amendment 1079 increases the authorization for the Local and Regional Procurement (LRP) program from $40 million per year to $60 million per year from 2014 through 2018.

Bread for the World supported the LRP pilot program when it was originally authorized in the 2008 farm bill, and now we’re hoping that it will be expanded.

The pilot program demonstrated the benefit of purchasing food aid locally and regionally to meet the needs of those suffering from hunger. Purchasing food aid locally is cheaper, quicker, and supports farmers in developing countries. These are smart reforms and we should invest additional funds into this successful program.

The bipartisan Coon-Johanns amendment makes this program permanent and substantially increases the authorized funding level.

Your U.S. senators need to hear from you ASAP! The Senate is considering the amendment soon. Don't delay! Call 800-326-4941 today, and tell your U.S. senators,

Vote “yes” on the Coons-Johanns food aid reform amendment.

Thank you for using your voice to help ensure a place at the table for all God’s people.

David Beckmann is president of Bread for the World.

Act Now: Senate Voting on a Farm Bill

'US Capitol' photo (c) 2007, Navin75 - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

By David Beckmann

The Senate will vote on a farm bill this week. SNAP (formerly called food stamps) and international food aid programs are once again on the chopping block.

Last week, the Senate Agriculture Committee passed a farm bill that takes some necessary steps towards food aid reform. Unfortunately, it also included a $4.1 billion cut to SNAP over the next ten years. If these cuts go into effect, at least 400,000 SNAP households will lose about $90 a month in benefits.

There's still time to act! your U.S. senators need to hear from you. Call them today at 1-800-326-4941 and urge them to take the following actions:

  • Support Senator Gillibrand’s efforts to restore cuts to SNAP.
  • Vote against any amendments that cut SNAP. This vital program keeps food on the table for millions of families even as poverty, unemployment, and underemployment remain high.
  • Support efforts to make international food aid more efficient and targeted to the nutritional needs of women and children in the thousand-day window from pregnancy to age 2.

Cuts to SNAP and food aid will leave no place at the table for millions of our brothers and sisters. Don’t delay. Call your U.S. senators at 1-800-326-4941 today!

David Beckmann is president of Bread for the World.

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