Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Sequestration: The Impact on the Poor at Home and Abroad

There has been much discussion about the impact of sequestration on poor people in our country and around the world.

At the domestic level, if Congress fails to reverse automatic across-the-board cuts, $85 billion will be eliminated from federal programs this year and $1.2 trillion will be cut over the next decade. Many of those programs lift people out of hunger and poverty.Read analysis from Eric Mitchell, Bread for the World;s director of Government Relations.

And here is more information from The New York Times.on the impact to low-income housing assistance.

Catholics Confront Global Poverty, a joint project of Catholic Relief Services and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, gives us some insight on what could happen at the international level.

Here is what CCGP sent out to its members and supporters:

Picture from Catholics Confront Global Poverty
In the wake of Congress failing to prevent across-the-board cuts to government-funded programs, also known as ‘sequestration,’ most of us are going on and living our daily lives without feeling their impact. However, millions of our brothers and sisters here in the United States and overseas will eventually begin to feel the squeeze of these cuts.

Catholic Relief Services staff and overseas partners working in some 100 countries have shared a first-hand look at what people are experiencing in some of the poorest countries on earth:
  • A vital food program in Burkina Faso funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that helps farmers grow enough food to feed their families and improve their harvests could be lost completely sometime next year.
  • A number of Food for Peace funded programs could be delayed or canceled, which could deprive millions of people who don’t have enough to eat of the help they need to survive.
  • Our local faith-based health partners that provide life-saving HIV care and treatment in many countries in Africa thanks to grants from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) could lose funding, forcing them to choose between those people who will receive care and those who will not.
Despite these concerns and by the grace of God, we remain hopeful. CRS staff has been told that most programs should remain intact until the end of this fiscal year, September 30. But the next hurdle is around the corner because Congress must soon approve legislation to fund U.S. government operations beyond September 30, 2013. There will be significant pressure to cut deeper into programs that we know save lives and must be preserved.

As this financial mess continues in Washington, D.C. we are reminded of the words of the late Pope John Paul II in his Address on Christian Unity: "The needs of the poor take priority over the desires of the rich; the rights of workers over the maximization of profits; the preservation of the environment over uncontrolled industrial expansion; the production to meet social needs over production for military purposes."

Click Here to participate in CCGP's Action Alert urging President Obama and the Congress to avoid  cuts that will further harm poor and vulnerable people!

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