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Washington, D.C. – Bread for the World today commented on statements released by Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton prior to their Oct. 9 debate about how they would address hunger and poverty in both the U.S. and around the world.
“Both statements provide valuable insights into how each candidate would address hunger and poverty in our country and around the world, and in many ways stand in stark contrast to each other,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “The statements also set the stage for Martha Raddatz and Anderson Cooper, the moderators of this Sunday’s debate, to ask Trump and Clinton to defend their competing plans to reduce hunger and poverty.”
“One in five U.S. children struggles with hunger. So why has there been virtually no mention of hunger and poverty in the presidential and vice-presidential debates?” asked Beckmann.
The statements were provided to Vote to End Hunger (VTEH), a coalition of 166 groups working to make hunger, poverty, and opportunity a higher political priority in 2016. These and other groups have been working for some time to make hunger and poverty election issues. VTEH has also been coordinating a social media campaign urging the debate moderators to ask about hunger and poverty.
In January 2015, faith leaders with the Circle of Protection began asking all major party presidential candidates to make a short video about what they would do as president to offer help and opportunity to hungry and poor people in the United States and around the world. The leaders received videos from Clinton and most of the other presidential candidates, but not from Trump.
In the statement that was just released, Trump discusses the need to address hunger and poverty. But the main solution he offers is his plan to promote economic growth by cutting taxes for corporations and high-income people, partly at the expense of programs that benefit low-income people.
Trump notes that hunger and poverty around the world are a threat to international peace and stability. But he proposes to cut international development and humanitarian programs, calling vital programs such as maternal and child health “bloated and unaccountable.”
In previous statements, Trump has also called for the mass deportation of undocumented immigrants.
Clinton’s newly released statement proposes a national goal of cutting poverty in half over ten years. She would promote growth and create jobs through a major program of public investment in infrastructure, affordable housing, education, and development in low-income communities. She would also raise the minimum wage and ensure that women are paid equally.
Clinton’s statement also discusses her work to raise the productivity of struggling farmers in poor countries and says she will fight to eradicate hunger worldwide.
In previous statements, Clinton has promised comprehensive immigration reform and criminal justice reform, both of which would open opportunities for many families struggling with hunger and poverty.
Hunger and food insecurity add at least $160 billion a year to U.S. healthcare costs.
Mass incarceration has far-reaching effects in the United States. It poses a significant barrier to ending U.S. hunger and poverty by 2030—a goal the United States adopted in 2015. But the connection is not always obvious.
The United States has long been a global leader in responding to humanitarian emergencies. Food assistance that includes nutritious food for pregnant women and young children is both a life-and-death matter for individuals and an economic imperative for countries.
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