In its recently released April 2014 newsletter, Bread for the World voiced its “deep disappointment” for the 2015 fiscal year House budget proposal. This proposal, introduced by Representative Paul Ryan, makes deep cuts to programs that help poor and hungry people in the United States and abroad.
The budget proposal cuts over $5 trillion over 10 years and calls for many changes to low-income programs. These policy changes will kick an estimated four million people out of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps, program. The changes to SNAP are significant, as assistance will now come in the form of a federal block loan and will not be able to increase should need arise. Negative impacts also reach Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and low-income tax credits.
The House’s proposal also cuts the International Affairs budget by 11 percent. Decreases to the International Affairs budget are detrimental to the success of food aid and other humanitarian efforts and undermine U.S. ability to fight poverty in the world’s poorest countries. The proposal also moves the Millennium Challenge Corporation to the position of lead agency for foreign development assistance, diminishing USAID’s role in ending global hunger.
Although many agree that federal spending is out of control, David Beckmann, President of Bread for the World, believes that pulling funding for programs that support the most vulnerable is clearly a poor reallocation of resources. “Fiscal responsibility means not sacrificing our commitment to reducing hunger and poverty for the sake of reducing a deficit that vulnerable people did not create,” Beckmann states. “Lawmakers must stop violating the basic principle to protect ‘the least of these’ in budget decisions, which Congress has adhered to in all major budget agreements over the past 30 years.”
– Madisson Barnett