U.S. Federal Budget

The federal budget is statement of who we are as a nation. It is more than a financial document. It is a moral one. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). This applies to nations as well as people.

While the federal government’s budget may sound boring or overwhelming with its unfathomable numbers, it’s too important to ignore when it comes to ending hunger.

The federal budget provides Congress and the president with the single greatest opportunity to shape our country’s priorities. The choices made about how the nation generates revenues and spends its shared resources should promote hope, opportunity, and economic security for all people, especially those struggling to put food on the table. As Christians, we believe that a moral measure of our federal budget is how it treats those whom Jesus called “the least of these” (Matthew 25:45).

Our government spends about 11 percent of its budget on domestic programs that assist low-income individuals (excluding health care and Social Security). Less than one percent of the federal budget goes toward international poverty-focused development assistance.

These policies and programs have produced tremendous gains in terms of nutrition, infant mortality, and children’s health care. Internationally, hunger has decreased over the last two decades. The number of people receiving anti-retroviral medicines to treat HIV/AIDS in developing countries increased tenfold to almost 3 million people in the last six years. Since 1990, more than 1 billion people gained access to clean water. When targeted and given the proper resources, these programs can work.

During budget negotiations, Congress too often looks to some of our most effective anti-hunger programs for places to cut. But it’s in the federal budget where many priorities are sharply put into focus. This is where Bread annually focuses its advocacy.  

Infographic: International Affairs and Poverty Focused Development Assistance. Graphic by Doug Puller / Bread for the World

Tools
from our Resource Library

For Education

  • The Nourishing Effect

    Hunger and food insecurity add at least $160 billion a year to U.S. healthcare costs.

  • Mass Incarceration: A Major Cause of Hunger

    Mass incarceration has far-reaching effects in the United States. It poses a significant barrier to ending U.S. hunger and poverty by 2030—a goal the United States adopted in 2015. But the connection is not always obvious.

  • Advancing Nutrition through Food Aid Reform

    The United States has long been a global leader in responding to humanitarian emergencies. Food assistance that includes nutritious food for pregnant women and young children is both a life-and-death matter for individuals and an economic imperative for countries.

For Faith

  • Unity Declaration on Racism and Poverty

    A diverse body of Christian leaders calls on the churches and Congress to focus on the integral connection.

    Dear Members of Congress,

    As the president and Congress are preparing their plans for this year, almost 100 church leaders—from all the families of U.S. Christianity—are...

  • In Times Like These … A Pan-African Christian Devotional for Public Policy Engagement

    This devotional guide invites deepened relationship with and among Pan-Af­rican people and elected leaders in the mission to end hunger and poverty.

  • Sermon by David Beckmann at Duke University Chapel

    Remarks delivered October 1, 2017 at Duke University Chapel in Chapel Hill in North Carolina.

    Thank you for inviting me to preach here at Duke University Chapel. And I especially want to thank the Bread for the World members who have come this morning.

    Bruce Puckett urged...

For Advocacy

  • Grassroots Advocacy Toolkit

    A set of how-to sheets for carrying out advocacy and fact sheets on the current issues Bread for the World is working on.

    For new and current Bread grassroots hunger activists.

    Ideal as a starter toolkit for new Bread activists or as a set of updates for current activists.

    ...

  • Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017

    Unnecessarily long prison sentences, combined with the lack of rehabilitative programs for people in prison, exacerbate hunger, poverty, and existing inequalities.

    Overly harsh mandatory minimum prison sentences have contributed to the rapid increase of our country’s prison population. The...

  • Health Care Is a Hunger Issue

    Learn more about the principles that Bread for the World supports regarding health reform.