Bread for the World Sends Message to Senate

October 23, 2017 01:45 PM
african farm

By Emma Beyer
This article is a part of the University of Missouri's Ag Journalism program's coverage of the 2017 World Food Prize.

DES MOINES, Iowa – The message from Bread for the World was simple: the U.S. needs to continue to support hungry people around the world. Rev. David Beckmann, president of the organization, called for legislative action.

Bread for the World is a Washington D.C.-based faith collective that urges U.S. decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad. The organization is now speaking out against policies proposed by the Trump administration, he said. The threat to global security and global hunger is the unprecedented proposed cuts in foreign and domestic aid that add up to $2.5 trillion dollars, according to Beckmann.

To combat these issues, Bread for the World is making three recommendations to stop the elimination of funds to programs and organizations that fight hunger. First, the organization publicly urges the current administration to not cut programs for the poor and keep an emphasis on nutritious foods for all children.

“One in six children living in a household that runs out of food. It doesn’t make sense to cut nutritious and food assistance to low-income families,” said Beckmann.

Secondly, the organization urged individuals to tell elective officials that they’re doing good work.

“There’s a lot of bipartisanship in agriculture and foreign assistance,” said Beckmann. “There are a dozen politicians from both parties currently working to say no to President’s proposed program cuts.”

Beckmann also added that the administration has added a billion dollars to foreign aid for countries currently fighting famine.

“We agree with Trump administration on this,” said Beckmann. “We also agree with the administration that Saudi Arabia and European countries should give more money to countries in conflict.”

Thirdly, Beckmann said, is to continue passing good farm bills. Bread for the World hopes that no more cuts, such as in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or international food aid, will be made.

“Our elected officials can help stop (food issues) by providing leadership in conflict countries, passing a good farm bill, and providing funding to SNAP and international food aid,” Beckmann said.

Hunger is on the rise in 2017, according to Beckmann. And, 40 percent of the world’s hunger comes from areas with violent conflict. The number of people killed in regional conflicts continues to go up, Beckmann said, and this has led to an increase in displaced people, an increase in refugees, and an increase in hunger.

“If each church tried to make up for the budget cuts,” Beckmann said, “each would need to give away $700,000 every year for the next 10 years. It’s an impossible scenario.”

Although the Senate has not yet cut programs for hungry and poor people, both the Senate and the House have proposed budget resolutions to cut trillions of dollars, and so far, the administration and majority leaders favor policy cuts for domestic aid programs, Beckmann said, adding that these budget cuts are a direct result of the appetite for tax reductions. Tax cuts seem to affect, and hurt, the poorest communities in the United States.

“(The Trump administration) is transferring of trillions of dollars from low-income communities to high-income people,” said Beckmann. “Eighty percent of the tax cuts benefit people in top 1 percent of wealth.”

The organization hopes the administration will recognize the importance of food security, international aid and the emphasis of nutritious foods for all children.

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