Monday, April 7, 2008

IL Call-in: Calls needed to Durbin about Foreign Operations bill

From Bread for the World:
Four weeks ago, your voice was a crucial factor in an overwhelming 73-23 vote by the Senate to restore $4.1 Billion to the International Affairs Budget. This was a tremendous victory on the road to keeping our nation's promise to fulfill the Millennium Development Goals, but our work is far from over.

The next step in the budget process is ensuring this money is available for effective poverty-focused development assistance programs. (Note: If you are a Bread for the World member, you probably received an action alert about this in the mail in the past week)

Congressional leaders are currently setting spending limits for all of the appropriations bills, including for the State Department/Foreign Operations bill, which contains hope-giving and life-saving programs like the Child Survival and Health Fund. This is one of the most important steps in Bread for the World's campaign to boost poverty-focused development assistance by $5 Billion, and Senator Durbin is one of a small handful of leaders who will have a voice in making this happen.

By April 11, please call Senator Durbin at 1-800-826-3688. Message: please do all in your power to allocate at least $38.2 billion to the State Department/Foreign Operations subcommittee for fiscal year 2009. This special, toll-free number will connect you to the Capitol switchboard, where you can ask to be transferred to your senator Durbin's office.

Points to Make

The United States needs to increase funding to meet the commitments to hungry and poor people around the world.
We signed onto the Millennium Development Goals. We must do our part to meet them.
Poverty-focused development assistance goes to the programs that most directly address the root causes of hunger and poverty such as agriculture, clean water, nutrition, education and health.
After you have called, please click here to report your call. It literally only takes two clicks and it helps us make sure you have the most up-to-date information about this campaign.

More information about this call-in effort is available below. Thank you for raising your voice!

Peace and Blessings,

The Staff at Bread for the World

Congress is at an important point in the process of determining next year's budget. Congressional leaders will make decisions in the next few weeks that will greatly affect how much poverty-focused development assistance will be available next year. Your voice is important.

The leadership of the House and Senate appropriations committees are working now to determine fiscal year (FY) 2009 spending levels for each of the 12 federal appropriations bills(Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, etc.) These spending levels serve as caps on the amount of funding that Congress can allocate to each bill. One of the appropriations bills, State Department/Foreign Operations, contains almost all of U.S. foreign assistance programs, including those that fight hunger and poverty. Keeping the promises our country has made to fight global poverty, hunger and disease depends on securing the highest amount possible for State/Foreign Operations as a whole as we continue through the appropriations process.

Senator Durbin is one of a handful of leaders who will determine these allocations.

Later this year, we will be urging the State Foreign Operations subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee to appropriate the highest possible funding specifically for poverty-focused development assistance. We will have a better chance of success then, if they receive an adequate allocation now.

The responsibility for determining the overall funding level for State/Foreign Operations falls on the chairmen and ranking members (top Republicans) of the appropriations committees, the party leadership of the House and the Senate, and other influential members of Congress. As a constituent of Senator Durbin, you have an important role to play in securing this funding.

Bread for the World's 2008 Offering of Letters is pushing for more and better poverty-focused development assistance - more: to fund programs in the U.S. budget that give people in poor countries the skills and opportunities to break the cycle of poverty permanently; better: to pass the Global Poverty Act, which requires greater coordination of U.S. efforts.

Nations around the world, including the United States, have already agreed to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of eight international development goals to combat poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation, and promote gender equality. The U.N. Millennium Project estimates that to achieve the MDGs, the international community must significantly increase poverty-focused development assistance to poor countries. The goal is to globally contribute an additional $75 billion annually by 2010. For the United States to do its part, we must increase our spending on these effective programs by at least $5 billion a year. This funding would include long-term investments in education, agriculture, nutrition, health, and clean water.

The State Department/Foreign Operations spending bill must receive the largest allocation possible in order to fund programs that alleviate poverty and hunger. This allocation process determines whether or not we can keep our promise to help the world's poorest people.

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