WASHINGTON - Black Los Angeles Representative Barbara Lee will be participating in a day-long Hunger Fast to raise awareness on the issue of protecting programs that benefit the poor and the hungry. This Hunger Fast was organized by Rev. Jim Wallis, Ambassador Tony Hall, and a larger coalition of organizations that represent over 30,000 Americans. Representative Lee will be the first member of Congress to participate in the day-long fast. Starting this week through Easter Sunday, she will be joined by more than two dozen of her colleagues in Congress who will also participate in this day-long fast.
The fast was first announced last week by Rev. Jim Wallis, President and CEO of Sojourners, Ambassador Tony Hall, Rev. David Beckmann, President of Bread for the World and Ritu Sharma, President of Women Thrive Worldwide in response to proposed budget cuts that would be damaging to programs that support the poor and the hungry.
The budget cuts proposed by House Republicans represent a 2.6% cut in total spending, including a 26% cut in spending on poverty focused foreign aid. Many of the programs at stake once held bipartisan support. The extension of Bush era-tax cuts last December will cost $6.7 billion through estate planning loopholes alone. Meanwhile, Congress is considering $7.6 billion cuts to domestic programs for low-income women, infants and children.
“I am pleased to be joining this Hunger Fast coalition to raise awareness on the critical issue of eradicating poverty and hunger here in our own country,” said Representative Barbara Lee. “I have always believed that budgets reflect who we are and what we believe in and the budget that was unveiled this week an attack on low- and middle-income people. This is about the choices that we face in crafting our budget. Do we stand for unpaid-for tax cuts for millionaires or protecting the most vulnerable populations so that no one in our country goes to bed hungry? Do we stand for more subsidies for oil companies or job training to help put people back to work? I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join me and take part in this hunger fast to bring awareness to these important issues.”
The growing list of organizations that are supporting the Hunger Fast includes:
ActionAid, Alliance to End Hunger, American Jewish World Service, Bread for the World, Center of Concern, Coalition on Human Needs, Congressional Hunger Center, FAO (One Billion Hungry Campaign), Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Franciscan Action Network, Feeding America, Five Talents, Food for the Hungry, Heifer Project International, Islamic Relief USA, Islamic Society of North America, Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Lutheran World Relief, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, Meals on Wheels Association of America, MercyCorps, MoveOn.org, National Farmers Union, NETWORK: A Catholic Social Justice Lobby, ONE, Opportunity International, Presbyterian Hunger Program, RESULTS, SEIU, Share Our Strength, Sojourners, Texas Hunger Initiative, The Hunger Project, Universities Fighting World Hunger, Women Thrive Worldwide, World Food Program USA, World Vision.
As founder of the Congressional Out of Poverty Caucus, Representative Lee continues to work with House members within that caucus to continue to raise awareness around the issues of poverty and hunger as relates to the federal budget.