Washington, D.C. – Bread for the World today released the following statement regarding President Trump’s State of the Union address. The statement can be attributed to Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World:
“What most concerns many of the nation’s church leaders is the resurgence of racism and the neglect of poverty. That was the message of the statement that 80 Christian leaders issued this week. But the State of the Union address failed to mention racism and offered only passing attention to measures that would address poverty.
“We were grateful that President Trump didn’t mention cuts to programs that help people in poverty. Instead he talked about job training, paid family leave, and reforming prisons so that inmates will to have a second chance at life when they are released. We hope that congressional Republicans and Democrats, as they meet in their party retreats over the coming days, will develop these ideas into legislative action- such as passing the bipartisan Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act (S.1917).
“We join the president in celebrating the economy. Because of economic growth, poverty continues to decline in our country and worldwide. But the tax cut bill, which benefits mainly high-income people, has so far had limited impact on the economy, and tax cuts for high-income people are clearly not the best way to improve job opportunities for low- and middle-income workers.
“We welcome President Trump’s support for a path to citizenship for Dreamers and for a bipartisan compromise on immigration policy. The president’s proposal is a starting point for negotiation. We take issue with the President’s heavy emphasis on violent criminals among our immigrant population. America is better and stronger when we work together and rise above the rhetoric of division. As Christians, we are called by our faith to protect the sanctity of families and provide welcome to immigrants.
“We disagree with the president’s negative comments about aid to reduce hunger and poverty around the world. The United States and the world have made tremendous progress against hunger and poverty – so much so that we could see the virtual end to hunger within our lifetimes. Foreign aid is good for our economy, good for our security, and good for our soul.”