April 7th, 2011
02:27 PM ET

Hunger fast grows on Capitol Hill

By Laura Klairmont, CNN

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.

Read the full story about the hunger fast on the CNN Political Ticker.

Watch The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer weekdays at 4pm to 6pm ET and Saturdays at 6pm ET. For the latest from The Situation Room click here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Leaders • Politics • Poverty • TV-The Situation Room

soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. james miller, seymour,TX

    Just shows what the Republicans "really" consider expendable---- the poor.

    April 12, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
  2. J R Brown

    I never understood why hunger fasts "work". If someone wants to starve themselves, more power to them. Why would someone cave in to "pressure" from a person CHOOSING to starve themselves? Seems a bit spineless to me if you cave.

    As for the "relay fast"...really? Just more buffoonery from our elected "representatives".

    April 10, 2011 at 11:13 am |
  3. ***dude***

    Abortion is evil bigtime!

    dna testing proves its not “your body” but it is indeed a separate, legally identifiable life form with a unique genome.

    April 9, 2011 at 4:51 am |
  4. Tyrone


    Former Democrat President Clinton left office with a 800 billion dollar surplus! Republican President G.W. Bush receive that surplus and turn it into a 13 trillion dollar debt! During the time Bush was in office destroying America. With his horrible decisions. NEVER did you hear from Hannity, Palin, Beck and Rush. Claims of run away spending against the Bush‘s administration! NEVER!!!! Republicans pass a prescription plan NOT PAID FOR! Started a war in Iraq for NOTHING ( 4,400 and counting military dead for NOTHING)….. NOT PAID FOR! Started another war in Afghanistan with no plan….NOT PAID FOR! There was over a trillion dollars of taxpayer money to date under Bush! Not accounted for in Iraq! Republican today continue to charge President Obama’s administration with spending out of control! To date President Obama’s administration spend 1.5 Trillion dollars in two and a half years! The different between Bush and Obama most of that money was to stop the financial downfall Bush and the Republicans create! (1.) Stimulus Package 750 billion (2.) Unemployment 10 billion (3.) Military 300 billion! All necessary to keep America running! Unlike the Bush administration President Obama is spending money on the American people! To date 500 billion has been paid back from the stimulus package. In the end the stimulus package will earn America 300 billion in profit! To date know one ever talks about the 350 billion dollar stimulus package Bush spent. Nor how did it help or where did it go! Yet President Obama (who is clearly for all Americans) is criticize and called names! For doing the right thing for America! The last time a Republican President had a balance budget was under former President Eisenhower ! The last time the government was shut down was under Republican controlled house! There is so much evident to show how irresponsible and unprofessional Republicans are! Republican model is to take from the poor and the middleclass and give to the rich and super rich! There other model is when you have nothing to say resort to hate and dividing the country!

    April 8, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
    • Rolf Decker

      You Clinton figures are misleading. You are confusing a deficit with a debt. In 2000, the deficit excluding Social Security surplus was 84 billion, but the national debt was still 5.6 trillion dollars. Clinton had the opportunity to pay down the debt with his surplus, but chose to spend it instead on new programs. Bush turned that into about an 11 trillion dollar debt. Obama has turned that into a 14 trillion dollar debt, which does beat W and Reagan, both of whom were prodigious debt-spenders.

      The reality is that both parties have always been financially reckless. The Republicans claim to be the party of financial responsibility, but their actions in office have yet to prove it. The reality is that the Democrats tax more and spend even more, while the Republicans spend and reduce taxes. Neither will ever reduce the debt.

      April 8, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
    • J R Brown

      Your post is clearly an example of the ignorance pandered by the left. Of Clinton's 8 years in office, the budget was only balance for 3 of them and there was never really a "surplus" because, even though we were spending less than we were taking in, our national debt still grew. Clinton's presidency INCREASED out national debt. Additionally, the costs of programs signed into law without money be appropriated contributed to the illusion of a surplus....

      April 10, 2011 at 11:17 am |
  5. Reality

    Once again-

    There are always economics built into one's beliefs. For example, is Susan Jacoby an atheist because there is money to be made from books, speeches and columns on the subject? Unless she and others in the business of making good income from books, etc. on religion, secularism, or atheism take a vow of poverty, we will never know.

    Glen Beck, $32 million in 2010, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/08/glenn-beck-earned-32-mill_n_529903.html

    and from guidestar.org

    Rev. Franklin Graham $800,000+/yr.

    Rev. Billy Graham, $400,000/yr

    Rabbi Bradley Hirschfield $331,708/yr

    Rev. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, $200,000/yr

    Erica Brown $134,221/yr

    Eboo Patel $120,000/yr and his "non-profit" group's $2.5 million investment portfolio.

    Dr. Herb Silverman $100,000/yr. ?

    Imam Rauf and his wife Daisy, $400,000/yr/ea estimated

    April 8, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
  6. Reality

    Follow the money trail when it comes to likes of Jim Wallis, Billy Graham, Glenn Beck, Franklin Graham, Eboo Patel et al.

    e.g. –

    "In July 2010, Marvin Olasky, editor-in-chief of WORLD magazine, wrote that Sojourners accepted money from George Soros, who has financed groups supporting abortion and atheism.[6] Jim Wallis responded as follows: "It's not hyperbole or overstatement to say that Glenn Beck lies for a living. I'm sad to see Marvin Olasky doing the same thing. No, we don't receive money from Soros." Wallis later admitted that Sojourners had, in fact, accepted funds from Soros' Open Society Inst-itute. Wallis stated that the funds made up "the tiniest fraction of Sojourner's funding during that decade–so small that I hadn't remembered them."[6] The grants from the Open Society Insti-tute totaled $275,000 from 2004 to 2007.[7] Wallis apologized to Olasky for his comments about him. Jay Richards wrote that Sojourners had received $2.2 million from various foundation grants from 2003 to 2009, including the Tides Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Wallace Global Fund, and the Streisand Foundation."

    Maybe the Sojourners aka Jim Wallis will sponsor AIDs research with some of their funding? No donations to AIDs support listed on their IRS Form 990. But what do we find on the Sojourners aka Jim Wallis' IRS Form 990 (guidestar.org)?

    Jim Wallis is paid $351,140/yr which includes benefits and speaking honoraria for doing things like giving BO grief about AIDs funding. They/he also have/has ~$1 million invested in the stock and bond market. (A million dollars for AIDS support in Africa would be great.) Again Mr. Wallis/Sojourners pays no taxes on the dividends, interest or capital gains on these investments.

    April 8, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
  7. Bill

    Yeah, one day each, oh, that's really going to drive people to change. It's not like the trategy of the hunger strike is that the striker might die, like Gandhi. If it is a minor inconvenience, then who is going to care? I bet most of them are cheat eating anyway, because there is no reason not to.

    April 8, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • Reality

      Ghandi was assassinated.

      April 8, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • Bill

      Reality, it was the real possibility that Gandhi would die that made his fasts as effective as they were. How he actually died is totally irrelevant to whether his fasts were effective, and why. In contrast, the fast for a day then hand it off thing is a joke, of no impact.

      Did you actually need something that obvious interpreted for you? Or are you just trolling for the sport of it?

      April 8, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
  8. RFBJR

    Typical poiticians. They get religion only when it suits them. My stomach turns just thinking about thes f***ing hypocrites.

    April 8, 2011 at 10:16 am |
  9. S MacAller

    I am not on a hunger strike, but I can't afford to eat much. 5'7' 103 lbs now. And I am losing my 109 year old Nat Register Listed home. Live on SSI and if Government shuts down have no idea how I can keep volunteering time, talent and PhD education to students, cultural organizations etc...or get medical help if I need it – never use Medicare unless something extreme happens!
    The egocentric poitical naimals in our government are appalling in their selfish, idiotic march toward the destruction of humanity. Their thoughtless unethical tactics require all of us marching on Washington somehow!!

    April 8, 2011 at 2:07 am |
  10. doug

    A group of Millionaire Public Servants skip eating for a day to be in touch with the common man. I'm sure they'll have plenty of taxpayer-bought tea and coffee to drink while they endure their suffering.

    Funny, when I went a day without eating in the Army (while sleeping in the cold/rain/etc.), I just thought it sucked...didn't realize I was being so noble. Thanks again, Congress! Whatever could we do without you?

    By the way, why is it that your predecessors, our founding fathers are revered in history as great lawmakers and bold thinkers....and only met for 6 WEEKS EVERY YEAR before going back to REAL JOBS? Get over yourselves, you melodramatic leeches. Please shut down, but since tomorrow's payday, just make sure you don't deduct my FICA!

    April 8, 2011 at 1:57 am |
  11. theoldadam

    I think there is another answer.

    I just haven't thought of it yet.

    April 8, 2011 at 1:46 am |
  12. BG

    What you're all missing out of all this budget cutting is the tremendous opportunity there is for job development. After they cut services to the poor they can afford to build more prisons, hire more prison guards, and before you know it, unemployment's on the way down ! And of course the prisons will be put to good use (housing folks who were caught stealing the little luxuries of life... like food and medicine.)

    April 8, 2011 at 12:58 am |
  13. Secular Heathen

    Way to stick it to the republicans. Each person on this relay fast is going to not eat for one whole day. Why do we keep electing tards? I mean both sides of the 2 party dictatorship. If you think not eating for one day is going to do anything other then slow your metabolism your sadly mistaken.

    April 8, 2011 at 12:35 am |
  14. ArtificeSoul

    Really? A "Relay Fast"?

    Whoever's the last leg in this race better start frequenting some buffets....

    April 7, 2011 at 9:58 pm |
    • Frederica

      No, everyone suffers and prays the same.

      April 8, 2011 at 12:17 am |
    • ColinO

      Which in the case of a 'relay fast' is...not much.

      April 8, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
  15. Frederica

    True history changers for good. Helping poor must not be cut unless the giver himself is starving as well.

    April 7, 2011 at 9:37 pm |
    • Tea Party Patriot

      That's socialism! You are a communist!

      April 8, 2011 at 2:01 am |
    • Adeline

      Tea Party Patriot, it's time we should lose some weight.

      April 8, 2011 at 8:15 am |
    • ProChoiceAtheist

      Frederica; Are you capable of looking past that book you hold so delusion-ally close to your heart and at the reality of the situation? The government is in trouble and it has nothing to do with Planned Parenting-it has to do with the lack of.

      April 8, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Nothing new that the government is top heavy with big egos that demand outrageous salaries, bonuses, bennies at all levels and suck the tax payers dry.


      April 9, 2011 at 9:38 am |
  16. CatholicMom

    Programs that can stand to be cut…those that pay for the death of babies by abortion.

    April 7, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
    • Frederica

      Yes. Politicians and public always need religious leaders to be reminded what is truly important.

      April 7, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
    • ProChoiceAtheist

      Wow!! Who is going to feed all those unwanted children?? Whatever happened to freedom of choice or does that only apply when it comes to what you Christians deem as right?? Guess What?? YOU DON'T GET THAT CHOICE!!
      Planned parenting doesn't just include abortions...it also includes educating these people on how to prevent unwanted pregnancies and providing contraception so there are not children who starve in this world or who are potentially abused because the stress on the parent is too much to handle.
      What happens when the Mother's health is at risk if she continues a pregnancy?? Do you just let her die?? How immoral is that??? What happens when the baby is at risk?? Do you let that child be brought in to the world without a chance for survival or the chance that the child may never lead a normal life, thus in turn causing undue stress to the parents left to care for or worse case scenario-bury that child. Don't give me the 'Gods will' crap!! If your God was so just, he wouldn't be wishing this on anyone...he would realize that it is a woman's choice...she owns her body, not him!
      I'm not seeing where fighting against Planned Parenting is good. You only cause a newer stress on the political budget mess that the country already see's.
      Get your head out of the dark ages...face reality for what it is...tell the government to cut their own wages and stop giving tax cuts to the already too rich (ie; GE). Planned parenting isn't the problem...it's you who refuse to live in the here and now preventing the government from doing what is right!!

      April 8, 2011 at 10:03 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      You and Frederica make me sick. Planned parenthood is a service to provide councelling and support for all aspects of reproductive health for women and men of low incomes. Pregnancy coaching, parenting advice, contraception, STD's, adoption and abortion to name a few. What you don't realize is that abortions are NOT funded by federal taxes and people who have decided to pursue that option must pay for the services themselves. Whether it be the abortion pill or in-clinic all Planned Parenthood does in provide information and advice. Despite what you believe abortion is legal in this country and a fetus 12 weeks or earlier is not a baby...it's a glob of goo. In America 1 in 3 women up to the age of 45 have had an abortion...yes it's that common and if things went the way you suggest there would be 33% more kids on welfare sucking up even more tax dollars. But all this is moot anyway since the amount of money that would be saved by cutting funding for PP would be a drop in the bucket compared to the $70 billion in defence appropriations for a single fighter jet program thats never been used. Combined Planned Parenthood, Head Start, Low income subsidies and foreign aid account for less than 4% of GDP. The sights are being leveled at the wrong aspects of Gov't since spending on Social Security, Medicare and Defence are ripe with fat that could be trimmed.

      April 8, 2011 at 10:12 am |
    • David Johnson

      Planned Parenthood should be funded. Women should be allowed abortions, paid for by taxpayers.

      Cheaper to abort than to support for 18 years.

      The Lord Himself, defined when life begins:

      And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. – Genesis 2:7 (KJV)

      My King Jimmy says it, and I believe it! End of discussion.

      If abortion is illegal, women will seek back alley remedies. We, as a society, must take away as many of the reasons women seek abortions as possible.

      We need to make adoption easier and make it financially possible for a woman to keep and care for her baby.

      Obama has a program to do this. More needs to be done, but with the Republicans controlling the House, funds won't be forthcoming. We can't tax the rich, or stop giving money to big oil companies. We choose guns over butter.

      What would Jesus do? I mean, if he wasn't dead...

      Most of all, we need to make birth control available free of charge, to all women. We need to educate the women on these birth control methods. Remember, the best way to prevent an abortion, is to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
      Planned Parenthood provides birth control and advice.

      Psalm 127:3 – Children are a gift of the LORD
      Hmmm... Well, the bible says it, so I believe it. Children are god's gift!

      Notice how god doesn't check to see if a woman is capable of raising a child, before he gives a baby to them?

      Women in poor countries bear children, only to have them die, because Mom has no food.

      Women addicted to drugs are given babies, when they are totally incapable of taking care of themselves, much less a child.

      Girls are blessed with a baby they don't want. Why are babies given to women who don't want them?

      If god would be more careful with giving out gifts/children, abortion wouldn't be needed.

      And remember, there are a lot of women, who god refuses His gift. They would be overjoyed with god's gift. No abortions in their homes!

      God sure does work in mysterious ways. It's almost as if... Never mind.

      We should start real $ex education in school. Not abstinence only. Real education about the use of birth control.

      We will never totally eradicate abortions. Only a god could do that, and he either does not care, or does not exist.


      April 8, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • ColinO

      It always amazes me when a woman can be in favor a law that takes away the rights of women to make decisions about their own body.

      April 8, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • David Johnson


      You said: "It always amazes me when a woman can be in favor a law that takes away the rights of women to make decisions about their own body."

      What amazes me, is why anyone thinks they have the right to make a woman carry a fetus to term.

      13th Amendment : "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convictecd, shall exist within the United States or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

      Women or any part of their bodies, cannot be owned. Not by the government. Not by religious nuts.

      Jesus has been dead for 2000+ years. The bible was written by ancient men and reflects the morals and knowledge at the time. It is really time to move on.


      April 8, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • Artist

      Ah yes, let idealogy get in the way. Sounds like some people need to keep their religious views out of the government.

      April 8, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • Shane

      CatholicMom, there are NO abortions being funded by the govt here. YOU ARE WRONG.

      And if you think you are right, you are STILL WRONG!

      April 8, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      How about going back to being abstinent until both parties have security in career and finances.


      April 9, 2011 at 9:35 am |
  17. JF

    They want to do away with all the programs to help the needed. If people only will understand that the one and only way
    to stop the things that are coming, is to " do unto others as you will have them do unto you."

    AND those things are truely coming

    April 7, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  18. Normon

    Maybe they ought to go on a salary strike. Take no salary until the funding gets passed.

    April 7, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • Ron

      I think the more appropriate thing would be to stop the pay for the President and the congress men and women until they get things done. Also, make them pay for their health care benefits like the rest of us!
      Has anyone else noticed that while things are bad for the country, Congress is always able to give themselves a pay raise while the rest of us are hurting. I think all pay raises for Congress should be decided by the American People.

      April 7, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • Cynthia

      Best idea I've heard yet!

      April 7, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
    • Frederica

      Religious leaders use their salaries to help the poor. It will only further damages to the poor.

      April 7, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
  19. bp

    Way to go on a hunger strike for one day before passing it off.... at this rate you may starve to death in 40 years.....morons

    April 7, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
  20. Peace2All

    From the Article:

    ..."The participating representatives will partake in a "relay fast," each one abstaining from eating for a day before passing over to another representative."

    I certainly understand the reasons 'why' they are engaging in a 'hunger strike.'

    Hmmm...I'm not sure why I find the concept of a...'relay fast' a tad humorous...?

    A new spin on the old tried and true 'hunger strikes' where all involved just wouldn't eat until their 'demands' are met.



    April 7, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • BG

      @ Peace2All

      Well, a person's gotta eat... (except for Marcy Kaptur who's been trying to drop 20 pounds for evvver.)

      April 8, 2011 at 12:45 am |
    • BG

      I don't know about you, but it just -ruins- my day not to have a raspberry kiwi tart.


      April 8, 2011 at 12:50 am |
    • Peace2All


      LOL !!! Yeah, I know... God forbid, that each one of them 'fasts'... for "A Day." Probably quite a few of them could actually use a day off of eating. 🙂

      It's this 'relay fast' thing that I'm still trying to wrap my mind around it.

      Again, just struck me as kinda' funny.

      Hope that the 'snow' has calmed down a bit in your neck of the woods, and you are well...?

      Peace brother...

      April 8, 2011 at 2:51 am |
    • BG

      @ Peace2All

      Peace, all kidding aside, I'd be astounded if they did carry through with a -real- hunger protest, or for that matter, a real anything. Hypocrisy, insincerity and shallowness is what we've come to expect from our legislators. Do they actually think that the electorate believes there is any sincerity or meaning in kissing babies and shaking hands? Or not eating for a day? Politics is nothing more than bad theater scripted with gratuitous emotional farce.

      The only answer is term limits for every damned one of them.

      April 8, 2011 at 8:28 pm |
    • Peace2All


      Well Said...

      Peace brother...

      April 8, 2011 at 10:41 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.