Representatives Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, and Mike Honda, D-San Jose, are among House members who’ll take part in a day-long fast to raise awareness about protecting programs that benefit the poor and the hungry from federal budget cuts.
This Hunger Fast was organized by Sojourners President and CEO Rev. Jim Wallis, Ambassador Tony Hall, and coalition of groups representing more than 30,000 Americans. Lee will be the first member of Congress to take part; more than two dozen others are expected to take part through Easter Sunday.
The fast’s organizers say budget cuts proposed by House Republicans represent a 2.6 percent cut in total spending, including a 26 percent cut in spending on poverty-focused foreign aid; many of the programs at stake once held bipartisan support. And they say the extension of Bush era-tax cuts last December will cost $6.7 billion through estate planning loopholes alone, even as Congress now considers $7.6 billion cuts to domestic programs for low-income women, infants and children.
“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,” Lee, who founded the Congressional Out of Poverty Caucus, said in a news release. “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.”