Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Circle of Protection and Sequestration

As the House of Representatives considers deep cuts in the SNAP program this week ($40 billion over the next 10 years), we are urged to call our member of Congress and ask him/her to oppose the drastic cuts.

In addition to our concerns about SNAP, there is a broader budget-related issue. Sequestration, the measure that implemented across-the-board cuts, remains in effect. "If left in place, sequestration will continue to drastically cut programs that help the most vulnerable, such as the nation’s international poverty-focused development assistance programs," said Eric Mitchell, Bread for the World's director of government relations.

How can you help? Here is what Bread recommends: Ask your senators and representative to pass a responsible budget that provides robust funding for international poverty-focused development assistance programs and puts an end to sequestration. Send an email or call now (800-826-3688)

Read More in the Bread Blog.

Reweaving the Circle of Protection
Sequestration was very much in the minds of some members of the faith community when they decided to reaffirm the Circle of Protection this past summer.  Here is an excerpt of a piece that Kathy Saile and Galen Carey wrote in The Hill, a publication that follows developments in Congress. The piece was published on July 21.

It’s been more than 140 days since sequestration went into effect, cutting $84 billion across the board from government programs this year. It may be difficult to comprehend the effects of that number. However, it is not difficult to comprehend that a child who is undernourished this year could have learning difficulties for the rest of her life—which will hurt her ability to earn enough money to provide for herself and her future children. It is not difficult to comprehend that a father in South Sudan who needlessly dies from AIDS this year because of reduced access to treatments will leave his family in dire straits. It is not difficult to comprehend that an elderly person on a fixed income in the Midwest will sit hungry and cold in a dingy apartment next winter because of cuts to essential assistance.

Allowing sequestration to be implemented—and to continue—shows an abdication of leadership, a refusal to make tough choices. Leadership is overdue. The Circle of Protection calls on Congress and the administration to join forces to defend programs vital to hungry and poor people. Indiscriminate sequestration should be replaced with a sound fiscal plan that assures children living in poverty access to learning opportunities and safe, decent housing; that offers the poorest and sickest people in developing countries access to lifesaving drugs; that provides nutritious meals to elderly Americans who might otherwise have nothing to eat.  Read Full Piece

Saile is the director of domestic social development of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and chairs the steering group of the Circle of Protection. Carey is the vice president for government relations of the National Association of Evangelicals. .

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