Advocacy, Catholics Confront Global Poverty

Will Compromise Prevail to Confront Global Hunger and Poverty?

As we’ve shared with you over the past few weeks, Congress is working to forge compromises on the Farm Bill and the fiscal year 2014 budget through what’s known as conference committees. Decisions that are made on the Farm Bill and budget have a huge impact on our brothers and sisters who are poor and vulnerable.

The Farm Bill Conference Committee reportedly worked on the international aspects of the Farm Bill this week, including how our nation fights global hunger in some of the poorest communities around the world.  We’ve heard that Conference Committee leaders are trying to wrap up their work on the Farm Bill by the end of 2013.  It remains unclear whether this can be achieved, given the big difference between the House and Senate on funding for domestic nutrition programs, especially the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Regarding the Budget Conference Committee, leaders including, Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Reps. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), along with 24 other Members of Congress, are tasked with reaching an agreement on a long-term budget deal that could eliminate sequestration (automatic across-the-board cuts) but also determine top-line budget levels for FY14 appropriations. The deadline for a deal is December 13, 2013 while the current continuing resolution to fund the federal government will expire on January 15, 2014. For our sisters and brothers living in poverty overseas, what is at stake is assistance such as providing basic education to children, immunization programs and other life-saving health services.

We’ll continue to keep you posted on the work of the both Conference Committees. Our hope and prayer is that the “least of these” will not be forgotten in these negotiations.

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