Politics of Poverty

Jam Congress!

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Grassroots voices make it real.

Today, ordinary citizens from all over our nation who care about helping the poorest of the poor around the world are jamming the phone lines (we hope) as they call their Members of Congress to demand that they not cut the deficit on the backs of the world’s poor.

Whether or not you think Congress should be jammed (or dammed given the unprecedented lack of civility and compromise we are witnessing), we are together working to make sure our message gets through and is heard.

There are Members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans who understand the benefits and care deeply about foreign assistance–but we are up against our biggest challenge ever in midst of the “most cynical and schizophrenic of times” (as pointed out by retiring Republican staffer Mike Lofgren).

Our friends need to know their constituents care, and Members who profess not to care need to be made to understand why they should. It is all part of a sustained coordinated effort at many levels of advocacy: grassroots, grass tops, media, and in-person visits to Congressional offices here in Washington DC and in-district.

• Our national call-in day is a joint effort with CARE, Results, ONE, Bread for the World, and Save the Children. It comes at a critical time with a message that is fully supported by a coalition of 129 organizations focused on working to ensure that foreign assistance is not cut.

• Oxfam Sisters on the Planet Ambassadors have also been front and center. They joined other women leaders from around the country with their full page ad in Politico and direct advocacy activities.

Oxfam and other international development organizations call on Congress to protect anti-poverty programs from budget cuts.
Oxfam and other international development organizations call on Congress to protect anti-poverty programs from budget cuts.
Our message is simple and we are carrying it to Congress in every way we can: Support the 1% that saves lives. Please protect life-saving, anti-poverty programs from cuts in FY12 and beyond.

Many lives depend on these programs that give the world’s poorest people the tools they need to help lift themselves out of hunger and poverty. With high food prices and extreme weather events threatening millions around the world, now is not the time to cut life-saving assistance–which makes up less than 1% of the US budget. These strategic investments help make a safer world today and avert costlier interventions and humanitarian emergencies tomorrow.

My deep thanks to every single person who bothers to pick up the phone and make one–or hopefully two or three phone calls today to your Members of Congress. Together we can save lives and help people lift themselves out of poverty.

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