Im encouraged by the presidents bold step towards a budget compromise, said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. I pray congressional leaders will seriously consider this offer and move to reach a deal that addresses our long-term debt and ends sequestration without further punishing hungry and poor people, who did not create our nations budget problems.
Unfortunately, the Obama budget includes further cuts to discretionary spending, threatening programs that benefit poor and hungry people in the United States and around the world. However, it does protect low-income entitlement programs from cuts, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) and Medicaid. The budget also restores a cut to SNAP benefits scheduled to take effect this November. Additionally, it makes permanent the current Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) benefit levels, including the recent 2009 improvements.
A truly balanced deficit reduction deal will require additional tax revenues and cuts to some mandatory programs, added Beckmann, a former World Bank economist. We can find savings in Medicare in ways that wont hurt the most vulnerable. We can also raise revenues by reducing tax deductions in ways that support economic growth.
The budget released by President Obama includes important reforms to our international food aid, allowing greater flexibility and increasing efficiency so that it reaches millions more people.
Bread for the World urges members of Congress to reach a bipartisan budget deal that stabilizes the debt, replaces the sequester, and protects programs that effectively address hunger and help people move out of poverty.