Sunday, May 20, 2018

Prayer AND Advocacy During Farm Bill Deliberations

We need both action and contemplation to have a whole spiritual journey. It doesn’t matter which comes first; action may lead you to contemplation and contemplation may lead you to action. But finally, they need and feed each other.  -Rev. Richard Rohr, OFM

Last week, we received two separate notes from Bread for the World. One note came from Bishop José García, senior advisor for prayer and strategic initiatives, who urged us to join the monthly prayer circle to include two requests in our prayers: the well-being of low-income individuals whose benefits are running out, and wisdom and compassion for our members of Congress as they debate the farm bill.

Circle of Prayer: As we fast again this month, we pray especially for those whose SNAP benefits will run out on or near the 21st day of the month. This is particularly important as Congress works on the farm bill.

To support your fast and create community, we are starting a monthly Prayer Circle. Please join us May 21 at 12 p.m. (EDT).

The Prayer Circle will be led by our special guest Rev. Art Simon, founder of Bread for the World. We will pray for Congress to write a farm bill that protects and strengthens domestic nutrition programs and fully funds and continues to improve our international food aid programs.

Register for the Circle of Prayer

Advocacy: The second note came from Christine M. Ashley, interim co-director of government relations, who asked us to contact our legislators in the House of Representatives to urge them to vote against H.R.2  the Agriculture and Nutrition Act (H.R.2).

 "The farm bill imposes SNAP benefit and eligibility cuts in addition to stricter work requirements, in the name of getting SNAP recipients back to work" said Ms. Ashley. "If enacted, these changes would make it harder for families with children, people with disabilities, and seniors to get the food they need,"  

Ashley wrote the note two days before H.R. 2 was defeated in the House by a vote of 213-198.  The threat a punitive Farm Bill has not gone away, so the appeal to advocacy still stands. However, the strategy has shifted.

Here is a note from Food Research and Action CenterThank House Members who voted “No” on H.R. 2 and urge them to reject the motion to reconsider; urge Senators to protect and strengthen SNAP, including by rejecting SNAP cuts and by improving adequacy of SNAP benefits.

And this note appeared in the Bread Blog: Unfortunately, House Speaker Paul Ryan could bring this bill back up for a vote again early next week, so we will need to ensure our members of Congress stand strong in opposing these harmful cuts. Call your representative (800-826-3688) to thank them for voting against the bill or to oppose their support for the bill. (list of yeas and nays)

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