Bread for the World Lobby DayJune 15, 2011
Yesterday, I participated in the Bread for the World annual lobby day in Washington, D.C. We were urging members of Congress to join the effort to create "A Circle of Protection" around the poor and hungry. In particular, this means that in the midst of important deficit reduction efforts that programs that help the poor and hungry are protected. International aid programs--which are only 0.6 percent of the U.S. budget and thus cutting them will not solve our debt problems--are effective life-saving programs that also promote national security efforts by removing the societal factors that help spread extremist ideologies. Domestic programs--like SNAP, unemployment benefits, and the Earned Income Tax Credit that make up only 14 percent of the U.S. budget--are effective programs that actually create more economic activity than they cost and are critical in helping lift many Americans above the poverty line. I led the delegation's meetings with the offices of Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) and Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) and participated in the meeting with Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA). We only had a chance for a short meeting with Goodlatte's office, but both of the other meetings went very well. Overall, about 300 people from all over the nation participated in the lobby day and meet with numerous senators and representatives. At the end of the day, Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA), Representative Sandy Levin (D-MI), and Senator Dick Lugar (R-IN) spoke at a Bread for the World reception to express their support for our efforts. Some pictures that I took of them are below. You can watch a short video clip of McGovern talking at the reception about the importance of political organizing here.