Bread issues challenge to new Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Following this month’s U.S. midterm elections Bread for the World issued a statement declaring that its top priority for the 114th Congress will be the scheduled reauthorization of the nation’s child-nutrition programs.

David Beckmann

Bread president, the Rev. David Beckmann, issued the statement that also said its members pray all U.S. leaders will work to end hunger.

On Tuesday, while the Senate shifted to Republican control, 18,000 children around the world died unnecessarily, according to Beckmann. “Nearly half those deaths were caused by hunger,” he said. “And in the United States, 16 million children still live in families that struggle to put food on the table.”

Work to end hunger

Beckmann said Bread for the World’s members work for justice for hungry people in the United States and around the world regardless of how power shifts between the U.S.’s political parties. “We pray that all our nation’s leaders will work to end hunger,” he said.

We pray that all our nation’s leaders will work to end hunger.

The number of people in extreme poverty in the world has been cut in half since 1990, according to Beckmann. He said there has been progress in all kinds of countries, from Bangladesh to Brazil to Great Britain.

“If Congress and the president make opportunity for everybody a priority, we can end hunger in the United States and support continued progress toward ending hunger worldwide,” Beckmann said.

Bread for the World’s top priority for the 114th Congress will be the scheduled reauthorization of the nation’s child nutrition programs, according to Beckmann. He said Republicans and Democrats should work together to strengthen school and summer nutrition programs.

“But House Republicans have been pushing for deep cuts in SNAP (formerly known as food stamps),” Beckmann pointed out. “Churches and food banks across the country have been unable to make up for the groceries that Congress took away from hungry families last year.”

Bipartisan interest

Beckmann said Bread for the World notes with optimism bipartisan interest in other issues important to people in poverty:

  • When Congress returns later this month, the leaders of both houses seem inclined to steer away from another budget crisis and finalize appropriations for the current fiscal year.
  • The parties should be able to work together on continued progress against world poverty, the fight against Ebola and bills to reform food aid, strengthen agriculture and nutrition in poor countries, and promote trade with Africa.
  • Leaders in both parties are calling for reforms to correct injustices in the criminal justice system that have crowded U.S. prisons and deepened the poverty of many communities.
  • Tax credits for low-wage workers reduce poverty while encouraging work.

“God has made it possible in our time to virtually end hunger in our country and around the world,” Beckmann said, “so Bread for the World is pushing with urgency to make hunger, poverty and opportunity for everybody a priority for our political leaders.” Beckmann said Bread will push for change over the next two years and in the next round of elections for president and Congress.

Letter to the Editor