Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Time is Running Out! Our Congressional Leaders Need to Hear from You!

This is serious! Our economy (and many vulnerable people) are in real danger if Congress and President Obama do not negotiate a budget deal by Dec. 31.  On that date, the terms of the Budget Control Act of 2011 go into effect, in what we've come to know as the "fiscal cliff"
Among the laws set to change at midnight on December 31, 2012, are the end of last year’s temporary payroll tax cuts (resulting in a 2% tax increase for workers), the end of certain tax breaks for businesses, shifts in the alternative minimum tax that would take a larger bite, a rollback of the "Bush tax cuts" from 2001-2003, and the beginning of taxes related to President Obama’s health care law. At the same time, the spending cuts agreed upon as part of the debt ceiling deal of 2011 will begin to go into effect. According to Barron's, over 1,000 government programs - including the defense budget and Medicare are in line for "deep, automatic cuts."
"What's at stake is our nation's ability to feed the hungry, care for the poor and less fortunate, heal the sick and tend to the elderly", says Eric Mitchell, director of government relations at Bread for the World. "Now, more than ever, is the time for us to pray for our leaders and ask that they fight for hungry and poor people." Read Eric's post in the Bread blog.

And Bread  organizer Robin Stephenson has these words of encouragement for us.
"Even if you have called, emailed, snail mailed or sent a message in a bottle, we need to keep the pressure on,  The Christmas season is about hope not hardship, so let's get noisy and remind our leadership to do the right thing."
Click on this link to send an e-mail message to
  • House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi
  • Speaker of the House John Boehner
  • House Majority Leader Eric Cantor
  • Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
Here is the wording of the message.  You can send these words and/or send personalized comments.

Praying For You As You Negotiate
Dear [Decision Maker],
As you work to find agreement on a path to avert the fiscal cliff and address the country's deficits, I urge you to "defend the cause of the poor and give deliverance to the needy." (Psalm 72:4) While members of Congress may hold very different ideas on various policy measures being discussed, protecting those struggling with hunger and poverty is a value we can all come together around.

Therefore, I ask that you work together towards a deal that provides a circle of protection around programs for hungry and poor people. Specifically:

1. Include explicit protections for the EITC, Child Tax Credit, and SNAP (formerly food stamps) in the deal.
2. Raise sufficient new revenue so our country can continue its commitment to addressing hunger and poverty in the U.S. and around the world. This will take a combination of raising tax rates and curbing tax loopholes.
3. Extend the EITC and Child Tax Credit benefit levels, including the 2009 improvements.
4. Prevent further cuts of the budget that annually funds international poverty-focused development assistance, international food aid, and WIC.

My prayers are with you, your staff, and your colleagues as you work to find common ground and reach an agreement. May God continue to bless you and your work.

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