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Senate Budget Resolution Largely Protects Hungry And Poor People

WASHINGTON, March 25, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Bread for the World applauds the U.S. Senate for passing a fiscal year 2014 budget resolution that generally protects programs that help people who are hungry. After an all-night session of debate on more than 70 amendments, senators voted 50-49 in favor of the budget drafted by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), chair of the Senate Budget Committee.

"I congratulate the Senate for passing a balanced and responsible budget that reduces deficits while protecting programs that alleviate hunger and help people move out of poverty," said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. "I was also pleased that the Senate didn't include amendments that could have seriously harmed those most in need."

Some senators proposed amendments that would have cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit, and general funding for safety-net programs. In addition, some proposed amendments would have cut poverty-focused development assistance, a lifeline to millions of people around the world struggling to put food on the table. Fortunately, the Senate refrained from including any of those amendments in the final bill and also overwhelmingly voted against cutting foreign assistance by a vote of 26-72.

Several days earlier, on March 21, the House of Representatives passed its own FY14 budget resolution by a vote of 221-207. The House budget, authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), chair of the House Budget Committee, cuts SNAP by $135 billion over the next decade and turns it into a block grant. It also cuts the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit, and poverty-focused development assistance. In addition, the budget slashes all nondefense discretionary spending far below sequestration levels, in part by shifting scheduled defense cuts to nondefense programs and by providing big tax cuts. The Senate voted down the House budget 59-40.

"While the House resolution balances the budget in ten years, it does so in a way that would severely increase hardship for hungry and poor people," said Beckmann. "It cuts some of our most effective anti-hunger and anti-poverty programs in the name of deficit reduction—without asking for one dime of additional tax revenue."

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