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Washington, D.C. – Bread for the World today urged NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt to challenge Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to detail their plans to end hunger and poverty in America during their first debate tonight.
“Hunger is a critical issue since more than 42 million Americans -- or nearly 1 in 8 households -- still struggle to put food on the table. Progress has been made, but there are still more hungry Americans now than before the 2008 recession,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “It is only recently that the presidential candidates started explicitly talking about hunger and poverty.”
On Sept. 15, Bread and other anti-hunger groups delivered the names of 631,000 voters to the campaign headquarters of both candidates and to Holt, who will moderate the first presidential debate tonight at 9 p.m. Eastern. The voters signed a petition calling on the political parties, candidates, and Congress to make ending hunger a top priority.
After receiving the petitions, the Clinton campaign delivered a statement on reducing poverty to the group. A Trump campaign staff member said they were working on a statement. Previously, the major presidential candidates were asked for a video addressing how they will end hunger and poverty if elected president. Clinton sent a video; to date, Trump has not.
A recent survey conducted by Bread for the World found that 1 in 3 voters says they will vote only for candidates who promise to make ending hunger one of their top priorities. Two-thirds of likely voters in swing states say that ending hunger should be one of the top priorities of government.
Beckmann added, “Clinton’s plan to reduce poverty, outlined in The New York Times Sept. 21, includes investing in good-paying jobs, creating more affordable housing, and focusing on the growing problem of extreme poverty – putting special emphasis on minority communities. She would also raise the minimum wage and guarantee equal pay for women, expand Early Head Start, and make pre-school universal.
“In his public pronouncements, Donald Trump argues that his proposed tax cuts would stimulate rapid economic growth. But the tax cuts would go mainly to high-income people and corporations, and they would entail cuts to many programs, including WIC (nutrition assistance to mothers and children) and programs that fight hunger and disease in poor countries. Trump has recently toned down his immigration plan, but it would still deport millions of people, increasing hunger and poverty among those families. He has recently announced a proposal to help many families with maternity leave and child care.”
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