Monday, June 25, 2007

Bread for the World mentioned on the House Floor

Jerry Lewis (R-CA), who is the ranking Republican member of the House Appropriations Committee (and was once the Chair of the committee), mentioned Bread on the House floor the other day (Wednesday, 6/20) in his opening statements about the Foreign Operations Bill (catch a summary of the bill here). His remarks were in support of the United States government putting their money into ending poverty. The people that I am working with in my internship, David Gist and Holly Hight, have been working with the congressman for quite some time and it is a wonderful reward to see that their efforts have really made a difference.

Here are his remarks:

Now, I know most Members feel they weren't elected to support international assistance programs. In fact, Mr. Chairman, I am sure there are many Members who feel that the United States should dramatically reduce the amount of money we spend around the world and focus our resources on domestic priorities. This sort of isolationist point of view has no place in today's shrinking world. One needs only to look to Europe as an example of a once powerful and influential nation withdrew its resources from around the world and focused inward. What has since been termed as the ``French model'' resulted in massive inflation, high unemployment rates within the country, and severe internal crises. The United States should not follow the ``French model,'' a misguided path that essentially has caused the French to disappear as a powerful force in the world.

I remember as a young man attending UCLA I was fortunate to participate in a program that preceded the Peace Corps called Project India . As I joined other young students in traveling to villages around a country where poverty and ever-present caste systems were always visible, I was struck by the importance that personal freedom and opportunity have on the human condition, especially if you had the good fortune of being born in the United States of America .

Today, India has outlawed the caste system and is the largest democracy in the world, as well as our strong ally in the global war on terror. I am particularly pleased that in any congressional district there are large numbers of my constituents who are actively involved, advocating for increases in our international assistance program.

In recent meetings with the Results Group, with CARE, Bread for the World and others, I have noticed that more and more people are beginning to understand that they, too, have a role in our role for leadership in the world. Theirs are the voices from the grass roots, a perspective that we need as Americans to recognize that we must continue to lead in the world, for indeed, without our leadership, the poor of the world will suffer most. Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to support this fabulous demonstration of work on both sides of the aisle together.

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