Washington (CNN) – In the final hours of budget negotiations, a growing list of Congressional members are joining former Rep. Tony Hall and over 36,000 participants in a hunger fast to protest what they say are proposed budget cuts that would affect those living in poverty in the U.S. and abroad.
Members of Congress joining the fast include Democratic Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro, California Rep. Mike Honda, Ohio Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, California Reps. Sam Farr and Barbara Lee, Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern, and Missouri Rep. Emanuel Cleaver.
The participating representatives will partake in a "relay fast," each one abstaining from eating for a day before passing over to another representative.
The fast was first announced last month by Ambassador Hall, Jim Wallis, president and CEO of Sojourners, Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World and Ritu Sharma, president of Women Thrive Worldwide- who asked others to join them in putting pressure on Congress to protect vulnerable programs assisting the poor and hungry.
"While I agree that we need to address the deficit, but we should not be starting with these reckless cuts to education, Medicare benefits, and health care for millions of Americans-and a staggering 26 percent cut in poverty focused foreign aid. I believe that we should start with eliminating ineffective programs, cutting billions of dollars in oil subsidies, and ending tax breaks for American companies that ship our jobs overseas. These critical funds enable millions around the world to have access to food and clean water, the very basics needed for human survival," Rep. DeLauro told CNN. "I am proud to join my colleague, friends, and over 30,000 Americans in this fast to call attention to the drastic cuts being proposed by House Republicans to critical programs and services."
The group said in a statement that budget cuts proposed by House Republicans also include $7.6 billion in cuts to domestic programs for low-income women, infants, and children.
"We hope to remind people that there are some very significant cuts being contemplated in this budget proposal that are targeting vulnerable people," Hall told CNN, adding that two-thirds of the proposed cuts come from programs benefitting the poor. "Deficit reduction should not hurt poor people," Hall said.