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Fasting, a new fashion on Capitol Hill

Fasting, a new fashion on Capitol Hill
Over two dozen congressional Democrats are taking turns fasting, forgoing food for 24-hours at a time each to protest last week’s proposed budget favored by conservatives.

Rep. Barbara Lee is helping organize the demonstration and tells The Hill that, “For me personally, fasting reminds me that while I’ll be off the fast in 24 hours, other people stay hungry all the time." Lee adds that she has already gone one day so far without food and will do it again.

Another 27 politicians on the left are taking turns, one at a time, to maintain a liquid-only diet in hopes of a better budget. The lawmakers intend on keeping the fast going until Easter.

Over 30,000 other Americans have so far fasted as a form of protest, to which Tim King of Sojourners calls "the largest fast of its kind in recent U.S. history."Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners (a faith-based advocacy group), told Religious News Services that the compromised budget “represents the interests of all those who make big campaign contributions but betrays the poor and vulnerable.”

"This compromise has only strengthened my resolve to continue fasting, and we call for any person of faith or conscience to keep joining the fast and spreading the word,” added Wallis.

The Institute on Religion and Democracy’s president Mark Tooley has slammed those participating in the protest, saying, “It is inappropriate to use a Christian holiday for a political gain.” Politicians and the general public alike continue to rally for the cause, however, regardless of religious affiliation.

Among the actions enacted in the proposed budget are over $504 million in cuts for the Women, Infants and Children's nutrition program, and $600 million in cuts to community health centers.

Meanwhile, Republican Steve King is fasting as well. The conservative congressman from Iowa is skipping meals until 6pm each day through Easter. King, however, says he is just trying to “lose a couple of pounds.”