Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Call TODAY to Urge Your House Member to Support the Senate-Administration Budget Deal

The Senate welcomed the new year by overwhelmingly voting to keep our country from falling into a fiscal cliff.  Among the 89 senators who voted yay on this measure were Sens. Tom Udall and Jeff Bngaman from New Mexico.  Read more from Roll Call.

Bread for the World's government relations director Eric Mitchell tells us some of the important provisions that were in the compromise reached by the Senate and President Barack Obama's administraition.

Specifically, the bill accomplishes the following:
  • Extends the current Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit benefit levels for five years, including the 2009 improvements. This is something Bread for the World has been pushing for over the past three years and represents an enormous victory.
  • Extends emergency unemployment benefits for one year, preventing 2 million people from losing unemployment benefits just one week after Christmas.
Both provisions expire if Congress does not act now, and it's up to the House of Representatives. We need you to call your representative at 1-800-862-3688. Tell your member to pass the deal!

The House is voting today (read more from CNN), so PLEASE MAKE YOUR CALL NOW.  The Capitol switchboard is open on New Year's Day. 

The urgency of the matter means that the vote is in the hands of the 112th Congress, whose mandate runs through Jan. 3, 2013.  For those of us in the New Mexico First Congressional District, that means that our call should still go to Rep. Martin Heinrich (who is moving to the Senate in the 113th Congress on Jan. 3).  And of course, if you live in Las Cruces or anywhere in the Second District, call Rep. Steve Pearce; and if you're in Santa Fe or any community in the Third District, contact Rep. Ben Ray Lujan.

If you call the Capitol Switchboard, you might get a busy signal.  An alternate way to communicate your message is on the member's Web site: Martin Heinrich,, Steve Pearce, Ben Ray Lujan
or on their Facebook page: Martin Heinrich, Steve Pearce, Ben Ray Lujan
on Twitter @Heinrich4NM, @RepStevePearce, @repbenraylujan

Here is more information on why this vote is so important for our anti-hunger and anti-poverty work:

The deal postpones for two months the "sequester" (across-the-board cuts) that was mandated by the Budget Control Act last year. The sequester would cut some anti-poverty programs. Cuts to some international development programs would literally cost lives. But some of the biggest anti-poverty programs—including SNAP ( formerly food stamps), child nutrition programs, tax credits for poor working families, and Medicaid—are exempted from sequestration. Bread for the World will be working in the coming months on a more thoughtful approach to spending cuts and protecting poverty-focused international development assistance and WIC."

Read Eric Mitchell's full post in the Bread blog. 

Keep in mind that if any future decisions on the budget and the Circle of Protection will likely fall on  the 113th Congress, which officially takes office on Jan. 3. This means that our future communication on this issue would be with  Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham.  Other folks around the country will also be dealing with a new House member.  According to Roll Call, the House of Representatives will have 83 new members in the 113th Congress.  There will also be 12 new senators, including Heinrich.

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