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Ellen Arthur, Valley City, Letter: Reverse budget cuts for hunger programs

Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., finds himself in a difficult position. As chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, he must manage one of the worst budget deficits in our nation's history. Yet for some reason, Conrad and that committee have chosen to ma...

Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., finds himself in a difficult position. As chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, he must manage one of the worst budget deficits in our nation's history. Yet for some reason, Conrad and that committee have chosen to make major funding cuts in the smallest sliver of the pie that helps hungry and poor people, here and around the world.

Eight-hundred-and-fifty-four million people across the world are hungry, up from 852 million a year ago. Even the Barnes County (N.D.) Food Pantry continues to be used more and more each month. In developing countries, nearly 16 million children die every year from preventable and treatable causes; 60 percent of these deaths are from hunger and malnutrition. Currently, less than one-half of 1 percent of the federal budget goes to this type of assistance; and Conrad would reduce it even further.

There are a couple of amendments being considered by the Senate - Feinstein-Smith and Biden-Lugar - that would restore such funding. I urge Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., to support the best of any such amendment and Conrad to use his committee chairmanship to reverse this dangerous trend.

The great nation of America does not balance its budget on the backs of poor and hungry people. I think full bellies, hope for the future and the investment of American dollars in a better world for all people would do more to fight terrorism and begin the process of rebuilding the damaged reputation of the United States than just about anything else.

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