Bread Congressional Update – 9/20/11

September 21, 2011 at 4:53 am Leave a comment

Inside
Washington

  • The House and Senate are in session this week.
    They will likely recess from September 26 to 30.

Bread’s
Issues

Poverty Increases

  • The U.S. Census Bureau released its annual poverty
    numbers
    last week. In 2010, the poverty rate increased to 15.1 percent, up
    from 14.3 percent in 2009, with 46.2 million people living in poverty. That’s
    nearly one out of every six Americans—the highest rate since the Census began
    tracking poverty data in 1959.
  • The poverty rate increased for children younger
    than 18 from 20.7 percent in 2009 to 22 percent in 2010.
  • The number of people ages 18 to 64 living in
    poverty increased from 24.7 million in 2009 to 26.3 million in 2010.
  • The poverty rate increased for non-Hispanic
    whites (9.9 percent in 2010, up from 9.4 percent in 2009), Hispanics (26.6
    percent in 2010, up from 25.3 percent in 2009), and African-Americans (27.4
    percent in 2010, up from 25.8 percent in 2009).
  • Despite the increases in poverty, the U.S.
    Department of Agriculture’s annual hunger data released September 7 showed that
    the number of families struggling to put food on the table remained unchanged
    for the third consecutive year. This data shows that nutrition programs like
    SNAP and school meals are effectively keeping hunger at bay. Still, these
    numbers are the highest on record with one in five children at risk of hunger.

Deficit Reduction

  • The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction
    (or “Super Committee”) had its first meeting September 8, during which members
    gave opening statements and the committee adopted its rules of procedure. At a
    September 13 meeting, members heard testimony from Doug Elmendorf, director of
    the Congressional Budget Office, on the drivers of the deficit.
  • Many Super Committee members want to look at the
    work of past commissions, including the Simpson-Bowles Commission, the
    Rivlin-Domenici Commissions, and the “Gang of Six” proposal.
  • The Super Committee must submit its
    deficit-reduction proposals to Congress by November 23, 2011.

Appropriations

  • Congress is putting together a continuing
    resolution to keep the government running beyond October 1, 2011—the start of
    the 2012 fiscal year. A vote is expected this week.
  • The continuing resolution is expected to last
    through November 18, giving Congress more time to finalize the appropriations
    process.
  • The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the
    fiscal year 2012 agriculture appropriations bill the week of September 6. The
    bill is a major improvement over funding levels passed by the House in June. The
    Senate bill includes $19.78 billion in discretionary funding, compared to $17.25
    billion provided by the House. But the Senate and House must agree on a funding
    level in conference committee before the bill can become law.
  • Funding levels for international and domestic
    nutrition programs in the Senate agriculture appropriations bill:

    • Funding for P.L. 480, which provides emergency
      food assistance to the most vulnerable areas in the world, increased by 4
      percent over fiscal year 2011—to $1.562 billion. This reflects the increased
      demand for humanitarian assistance, especially in the Horn of Africa.
    • The McGovern-Dole International Food for
      Education and Child Nutrition Program, a global school feeding program, was
      funded at $188 million, compared to $199 million in fiscal year 2011.
    • The Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance
      Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) was funded at $6.582 billion,
      enough to cover current and projected caseload.
    • The Commodity Supplemental Food Program, which
      primarily serves low-income seniors, was funded at $176.8 million, enough to
      continue serving existing caseloads though it doesn’t provide $5 million needed
      to expand service to six USDA-approved sites.
  • The full Senate Appropriations Committee will
    mark up several bills tomorrow including the State/Foreign Operations
    appropriations bill. We are advocating now for no further cuts to this critical
    appropriation that funds all poverty-focused development assistance.

Foreign Assistance Reform

  • On September 8, Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA),
    ranking member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, released a draft of
    the Global Partnerships Act of 2011, which would make foreign assistance more
    efficient, more effective, and better at serving America’s interests abroad.
    This draft proposal will serve as the foundation for building a consensus in
    Congress on how to modernize U.S. foreign aid.

Act
Now

On Monday, September 26, Bread for the World and more than
120 organizations will mobilize for a national call-in day to urge Congress to
protect funding for lifesaving poverty-focused foreign assistance. Join us to
ask your representatives and Senators in Congress to prevent deep and
disproportionate cuts to the fiscal year 2012 International Affairs Budget.

Stay tuned for an email from Bread for the World with more information about
this national call-in. On September 26, call Congress using this number:
1-800-826-3688
. Ask the operator to connect you to your
representative’s or senators’ offices.

 

Points we’ll make:

  • Deep and disproportionate cuts to this budget
    would limit the United States’ ability to help the world’s poorest and most
    vulnerable people.
  • Further cuts would put us on the sidelines in
    influencing rapidly transforming regions of the world.
  • Cuts to the international affairs budget would
    signal a dramatic decline of U.S. leadership in promoting a more stable
    world.

To learn more about why and how to participate in Bread’s continuing efforts
on the budget, visit www.bread.org/budget.

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Entry filed under: Newsletters.

SNAP(food stamps) Lifting 3.9 Million People Above Poverty Line What’s at Stake with the Super Committee? Everything.

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