Urge Congress to act on poverty bills - Word&Way

Urge Congress to act on poverty bills

Bread for the World is calling on constituents to urge their U.S. senators and representatives to sign on as cosponsors of bills aimed at foreign aid reform (800-828-0498 or www.congress.org).

Bread describes itself as “a Christian voice for ending hunger” and focuses its efforts on influencing Congress to make the best decisions for ending hunger and poverty at home and abroad.

Congress failed in 2008 to enact the Global Poverty Act, which called for a “government-wide review of global development policy” in an effort to coordinate the efforts of dozens of government entities and maximize U.S. development dollars designated to reduce hunger and poverty.

But Bread president David Beckmann reported in an e-mail to supporters and media that President Obama had signed a presidential study directive authorizing a government-wide review of global development policy, effectively doing what the failed bill would have authorized.

“The presidential directive is a clear indication that momentum is building for foreign aid reform,” Beckmann wrote.

By the time Congress took its summer break, 100 representatives in the House had already signed on to bill H.R. 2139 (The Initiating Foreign Assistance Reform Act of 2009) and a related bill, S. 1524 (The Foreign Assistance Revitalization and Accountability Act), had been introduced in the Senate.

Bread for the World organizers and advocates are working to set up local meetings with senators and representatives toward the end of September, Beckmann wrote.

Bread also appeals for prayer on behalf of the efforts of the organization and the poor and hungry of the United States and the rest of the world.

Churches are urged to observe Bread for the World Sunday on Oct. 18 or some other day this fall. The organization makes available free resources and ideas to help in the observance.

 They are available at www.bread.org/sunday or 800-447-0239 and are available in English and Spanish. Also available are a reflection on Mark 10:35-45, a new song by Marty Haugen, litany, call to worship, and prayers as well as worship bulletin inserts and offering envelopes.

Bill Webb is editor of Word&Way.