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Members of Congress Join Fast for a Better Budget - PRESS RELEASE

Press Release
April 7, 2011


Thursday, April 7, 2011
CONTACT: Chris LaTondresse at / 202-368-0139
Ambassador Tony Hall is available for comment

Members of Congress Join Fast for a Better Budget

Former Congressman, Ambassador Tony Hall and other faith leaders on eleventh day without food

Washington, D.C. — Members of Congress responded to a call today from former Congressman Tony Hall, Jim Wallis, Reverend David Beckmann and over 30,000 Americans to begin fasting in the midst of eleventh hour budget negotiations. Twenty-eight Members of Congress have committed to fast for one day between now and Easter Sunday (April 24, 2011) and are expanding the call to other Congressional leaders.

“I have always believed that budgets reflect who we are and what we believe in,” said Representative Barbara Lee, “I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join me and take part in this hunger fast. We need to band together to ensure we protect the most vulnerable populations and that no one in our country to goes to bed hungry.”

Congressional leaders fasting include: Representatives Joe Baca (D-CA), Karen Bass (D-CA), Andre Carson (D-IN), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Susan Davis (D-CA), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Donna Edwards (D-MD), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Sam Farr (D-CA), Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Mike Honda (D-CA), Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Barbara Lee (D-CA), John Lewis (D-GA), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Jim McGovern (D-MA), Donald Payne (D-NJ), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Terri Sewell (D-AL), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Edolphus Towns (D-NY) and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA).

The fast was first announced on Monday, March 28th by Ambassador Hall and three other leaders—Jim Wallis, president and CEO of Sojourners, Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World and Ritu Sharma, president of Women Thrive Worldwide—where they challenged people of faith and conscience to join them, pledging to put pressure on Congress to form a “circle of protection” around programs benefitting poor and hungry people.

“In 1993, as a Member of Congress, I went on a 22 day fast to protest the lack of conscience of the U.S. Congress towards poor and hungry people. Now, almost twenty years later, the stakes are even higher,” said Ambassador Tony Hall, announcing the beginning of the new fast protesting the proposed budget cuts that will hurt vulnerable people.

The budget cuts proposed by House Republicans represent a 2.6% cut in total spending, that includes a 26% cut in spending on poverty focused foreign aid. Many of the programs at stake once held bi-partisan 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.

For weeks, individual organizations had been running their own advocacy campaigns, but formally announced a new coalition out of concern of the devastating effects proposed budget cuts could have on vulnerable people. Leaders of these organizations will be joining in fasting, prayer and other acts of personal sacrifice over the course of the next several weeks and inviting the their constituencies—together representing millions of Americans—to do the same.

The coalition includes: ActionAid, Alliance to End Hunger, American Jewish World Service, Bread for the World, Center for Community Change, Center of Concern, Coalition on Human Needs, Color of Change, Congressional Hunger Center, Courage Campaign, CREDO, FAO (One Billion Hungry Campaign), Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Franciscan Action Network, Feeding America, Five Talents, Food for the Hungry, Green for All, 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,, 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.