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In his penultimate state of the union address, President Obama stressed the importance of tax credits for working families, fair wages, eliminating the gender gap, and making childcare affordable.
“The president’s focus on helping families feel secure in a time of change, and in ensuring everyone has an opportunity for success are keys to ending hunger,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “President Obama said it best that childcare is ‘not a woman’s issue but an economic priority for all of us’.”
The 2015 state of the union address comes at a time when 49 million Americans are at risk of hunger. Communities of color continue to suffer disproportionately with 27.1 percent of African-Americans and 25.6 percent of Hispanics living in poverty.
“With 16 million children not knowing if they will go to bed hungry, our top priority with this new Congress is to ensure that our nation’s child nutrition programs are reauthorized,” said Beckmann. “Improvements to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) need to be made permanent. They reward work and supplement wages, and the 2009 improvements alone are preventing 8 million kids from falling into or deeper into poverty.”
Internationally, poverty-focused development assistance (PFDA) is going to be funded at a slightly higher level than in the FY 2015 budget, largely in part due to emergency funds to fight Ebola in West Africa. During this speech, President Obama stated that rolling back Ebola in West Africa is an opportunity to invest in development and eradicate extreme poverty.
“We know we can work together with the president and the new Congress to eliminate the gender gap, invest in our children, and ensure U.S. foreign assistance helps our brothers and sisters around the world,” said Beckmann. “We must take this opportunity of a new Congress and the improved state of the union to make ending hunger a national priority.”
By Marlysa D. Gamblin and Kathleen King
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