As the House and Senate prepare to vote on the 2011 budget deal and tough negotiations over the 2012 budget begin, 14 women Members of Congress are fasting this week in protest against severe budget cuts that would disproportionately target the poor and the hungry at home and abroad.
PHOTO OPP TODAY: Fasting Members will be available for a photo opp. at 4:30pm Wednesday April 13, 2011 at 2413 Rayburn House Office Building.
Hungerfast, an effort launched March 28 by former Congressman and Ambassador Tony Hall along with three other organizations including Women Thrive Worldwide, now has over 35,000 Americans involved in fasting, including 28 Members of Congress. Fasters are demanding that the budget deficit not be closed by slashing programs targeting the vulnerable at a time of economic distress. In particular, Women Thrive co-launched this effort to draw attention to the severe cuts being proposed to poverty-focused international assistance programs, which will largely hurt women and girls globally. Women are the majority of the poor and sixty percent of the hungry worldwide.
“Members of Congress are taking a stand against balancing our budget on the backs of the poor, and I applaud them for it," said Ritu Sharma, Co-Founder and President of Women Thrive Worldwide, one of the four CEOs who launched Hungerfast. "Poverty-focused international assistance costs less than one percent of our budget and slashing it does little to close the deficit. These cuts are indefensible because they are truly cuts that kill."
“Placing the burden on the most vulnerable citizens of our country, as well as deeply pulling back on assistance that helps poor and hungry people around the world, as we look to reduce the deficit not only runs counter to our economic and security interests, but is also morally wrong,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro (CT-3). “The cuts in the budget for the remainder of this year to domestic programs like USDA’s special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants and children (WIC), as well as key international programs like Food for Peace, McGovern-Dole and the Feed the Future initiative, and the anticipated cuts in the Republican budget for next year, will have a negative impact on women and children around the world who will not have access to the food and nutrition they need. That is why I am proud to stand with my colleagues and 30,000 Americans in fasting today to call attention to these reckless cuts.”
“I am participating in Hungerfast because it is important to stand against Republican efforts to drop students from Head Start programs, eliminate life saving health care services for women, and slash necessary job training programs,” said Rep. Donna Edwards (MD-4). “At a time when our economy is still recovering, we cannot afford to balance the budget on the backs of women, working families and our most vulnerable communities. We must do better.”
“I strongly oppose balancing our budget at the expense of the most vulnerable in our society--low-income children, elderly, and working families,” said Rep. Marcia Fudge (OH-11). “Hunger is a very real threat to their well-being, and we are no stronger as a nation if we continue to ignore struggling Americans."
“I am honored to join in solidarity with my colleagues of Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths in sending a living prayer that we stand with the poor and hungry. We invite all Americans to join us in demonstrating support for vital federal commodities that so many Americans need,” said Rep. Marcy Kaptur (OH-9). “Rising prices for food and gasoline are bearing down on jobless families, senior citizens, and even returning veterans."
“I joined my colleagues in Congress, faith leaders, and more than 30,000 Americans across the country in a solidarity fast to protest the draconian, reckless and mean-spirited cuts proposed in the Republican Budget for fiscal year 2012,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL-9). “We fast in order to bring attention to those Americans who would be hardest hit, those who would suffer the most under the Republican vision for our nation.”
The women members fasting this week are Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Donna Edwards (D-MD), Karen Bass (D-CA), Susan Davis (D-CA), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Laura Richardson (D-CA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Terri Sewell (D-AL). Rosa DeLauro (D-OH), and Marcy Kaptur (D-OH).
For more on Hungerfast please visit www.womenthrive.org or www.hungerfast.org.