Washington, D.C. – Bread for the World today expressed hope that the poverty plan released by Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and the House of Representatives’ Task Force on Poverty, Opportunity, and Upward Mobility will start a bipartisan discussion on how to end hunger and poverty.
“Bread for the World applauds Speaker Ryan for giving poverty the attention it deserves and offering a plan to address it,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “We have disagreements with some of the proposals. But we are pleased that the plan doesn’t propose to cut or block-grant anti-poverty programs, and we welcome the emphasis on making programs as effective as possible.”
Beckmann and other Christian leaders, who form the core of the Circle of Protection, have repeatedly met with Ryan and his staff. They recently wrote to members of the task force about what they hoped to see – and not see – in the Republican poverty plan. The letter can be read at www.circleofprotection.us/taskforce.
Bread for the World hopes the Republican plan will jumpstart a serious bipartisan dialogue about ending hunger and poverty, both in the current Congress and during the 2016 elections. Currently, 48 million Americans, including nearly 16 million children, struggle with hunger. A recent voter survey commissioned by Bread for the World found that 2 in 3 American voters believe that ending hunger should be one of the top priorities of the government.
Bread notes that the Republican plan stresses work without offering any solution to the fact that many people cannot find jobs. The plan fails to address the disparate impact of poverty on people of color and the racial bias that underlies this reality. The Republican plan also fails to mention global hunger and poverty, even though Republicans and Democrats have worked together on some global poverty issues.
“We believe we can end hunger and extreme poverty in our country and around the world if our leaders make it a higher priority,” said Beckmann. “We look forward to seeing the Democrats’ anti-poverty plan, and to having a real debate about solutions.”