Congressional update 3/3/2010

March 5, 2010 at 8:48 am Leave a comment

Congressional Update during the 111th Congress
March 3, 2010

Inside Washington

  • President Barack Obama will propose a “cash for caulkers” program this week, outlining a $6 billion plan to create jobs in the clean energy industry by making homes more energy efficient. Creating green jobs is a key recommendation of Bread for the World Institute’s 2010 Hunger Report, A Just and Sustainable Recovery. For more, visit the 2010 Hunger Report Web site.
  • First Lady Michelle Obama’s new initiative to fight childhood obesity, “Let’s Move,” notes the need to address the problem of “food deserts” — areas of the United States with few supermarkets or other sources of healthy, affordable food. For more on food deserts, see “Community Food Security in New Orleans.”

Bread’s Issues

Protecting and Strengthening Tax Credits for Working Families

  • Our 2010 Offering of Letters urges Congress to protect and strengthen key tax credits that help low-income working families in the United States.
  • Programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit are critical to making sure that low-income working families have the resources they need to provide for their food and other basic needs.
  • Many Bread members are planning Offerings of Letters in the coming weeks. Bread staff in Washington has also been meeting with members of Congress to emphasize the importance of tax credits like the EITC and the Child Tax Credit.
  • Bread’s Web site has updated information on hunger in the United States. See “Domestic Hunger Facts” on Bread’s Web site.

Child Nutrition Reauthorization

  • On February 23, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack outlined the administration’s priorities for child nutrition reauthorization. Many of the administration’s priorities are in line with Bread’s proposals for child nutrition programs.
  • For example, Vilsack emphasized exploring alternatives to the current summer food model to reach more hungry children when school is out.
  • He also wants to increase enrollment of low-income children in school meal programs through improvements to “direct certification.” Direct certification is the process that automatically enrolls SNAP-participating children in free school meals because their eligibility has been established.
  • The administration is also proposing competitive grants to states to encourage innovative efforts to reduce child hunger.
  • Two hearings on child nutrition reauthorization will take place this week, on March 2 before the House Education and Labor Committee and on March 4 before the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee.

Global Food Security

  • The Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa held a forum on February 25-26 to explore challenges in the implementation of the U.S. Global Food Security Initiative in sub-Saharan Africa. Participants worked to identify strategies to address these challenges so that measurable progress is made in the next one to two years.
  • The forum discussed efforts by several federal agencies and the international community, beginning in 2009, to more closely coordinate effective food security and agricultural programs.
  • Bread for the World Managing Director Jim McDonald spoke at a plenary session on “Telling the Story,” focusing on the efforts needed to effectively communicate the challenge of hunger and poverty to the U.S. public.

Foreign Assistance Reform

  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently testified at four congressional hearings in support of the administration’s FY11 international affairs budget request.
  • She said that FY11 investments in food security, the global health initiative, humanitarian assistance, climate change, and a special focus on women and girls are “investments that are a key part of our effort to get ahead of crises rather than just responding to them.”

Act Now

  • Urge your members of Congress to protect and strengthen key tax credits that can make a big difference for low-income workers and their families.
  • In 2009, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) alone lifted 6.6 million Americans, including 3.3 million children, above the poverty line.
Sen. _____
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510
 and   Rep. _____
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121

Are you a hunger justice leader?

Apply by March 12 to attend a training event in Washington, DC, June 12-15, 2010

In a world of plenty, hunger is an outrage. You have a chance to be part of the solution—to change history for hungry people.

If you’re an advocate between 20 and 30 years old, don’t miss this opportunity. Join Bread’s next class of Hunger Justice Leaders.

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JustFaith Workshop – 5/12 Oregon Food Bank Action Alert – support the Emergency Food Assistance Program.

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