Don’t Let Sequester Alternative Hurt Poor, Hunger Advocates Urge

As Democrats craft an alternative to the $85 billion sequester set to hit the federal budget March 1, they should work to prevent their new legislation from impacting the nation’s poor, a prominent hunger-relief organization urges.

Lawmakers are seeking an alternative to the coming budget reductions, which were enacted as law as part of the 2011 budget deal. The Democrats’ proposal would save money by cutting direct payments funded through the farm bill, according to Bread for the World, an organization urging the nation’s decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad.

“Typically, direct payments disproportionately benefit high-income farmers and often fail to reach the surrounding rural economies,” says Rev. David Beckmann , president of Bread for the World. “With dangerous cuts to vital safety-net programs looming, hefty payments to large-scale producers cannot be easily justified.”

The package is expected to include both tax revenue and spending cuts, totaling approximately $84 billion in savings. Direct payments would cost the United States nearly $5 billion in 2013.

“While we support cuts to large farm subsidies, we caution that any further reductions to agriculture-related programs must not increase hunger and poverty,” adds Beckmann. “Programs like [food stamps] and international food aid must be protected throughout the budget negotiations.”

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