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FY2009 Budget Increases International Development Funding but Does Little for Domestic Nutrition Programs

WASHINGTON, Feb. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Preliminary analysis by Bread for the World experts indicates that the proposed FY2009 United States budget, released this morning, would increase international poverty-focused development assistance but does little to strengthen our domestic nutrition programs.

The proposed budget for fiscal year 2009 includes $16.48 billion for poverty-focused development assistance which are programs that most directly address the root causes of poverty. Overall, poverty-focused development assistance received a $1 billion increase over what was appropriated for FY2008.

Bread's preliminary analysis also finds an encouraging reversal in the trend of cutting long-term sustainable development programs. Bush asked for $15 million more for the "Development Assistance" account that will provide clean water, agriculture training, and basic education to the poorest communities of the world.

"We have a long way to go to meet our commitment to reduce global hunger and poverty," said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, a collective Christian voice which urges decision makers to end hunger in the United States and abroad. "According to our polls, the American people want the Administration and Congress to do more."

"Domestically, food stamps are our nation's first line of defense against hunger, so we are glad that President Bush excluded retirement and education savings accounts in determining eligibility," said Beckmann. "By excluding special military pay, low-income families would not see their food stamp benefits go down when a family member is deployed to a designated combat zone."

However, Bread for the World opposes Bush's proposal that limits certain food stamp categorical eligibility requirements to households which receive Supplemental Security Income or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. "This proposal would hamper states' efforts to move families from welfare to work by eliminating the critical support they need through this transition," said Beckmann.

Under the FY2009 budget, funding for the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program is $6.1 billion and is expected to serve a caseload of 8.6 million women, infants, and children in 2009. However, preliminary analysis by Bread experts indicates that it includes two harmful proposals-one that caps the funding for nutrition services and administration, and another that limits automatic WIC eligibility for Medicaid recipients. "We need to do all we can to help families who are struggling to pull themselves out of poverty," said Beckmann.

SOURCE Bread for the World
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