Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

Today's Obama Speech Echoes Themes in 2014 Hunger Report

See the full "4 Steps to Ending Hunger in America" infographic from the 2014 Hunger Report.

Income inequality is the "defining challenge of our time," President Obama said in a speech on the economy, given this morning. Unwinding of the harmful cuts of the sequester, protecting SNAP and other safety net programs, creating jobs, and raising the federal minimum wage are key to closing a growing "income and opportunity gap," Obama said.

"Whether it’s health care or the budget or reforming our housing and financial systems — all these things will have real practical implications for every American," he said. "And I am convinced that the decisions we make on these issues over the next few years will determine whether or not our children will grow up in an America where opportunity is real.

Themes in the speech mirror those in Bread for the World's 2014 Hunger Report, Ending Hunger in America, which outlines a four-point plan for eradicating hunger in the United States by 2030. Creating good jobs, which includes raising the minimum wage to a rate that allows all full-time workers to provide for their families, is among its recommendations.

"It’s well past the time to raise a minimum wage that, in real terms right now, is below where it was when Harry Truman was in office," Obama said of the current federal minimum wage, which is $7.25 an hour. "[I]f you work hard, you should make a decent living. If you work hard, you should be able to support a family." He delivered remarks from a town hall center in  Washington, D.C., where just yesterday, the city council unanimously approved an $11.50-an-hour minimum wage.

The president also spoke of the importance of maintaining and strengthening our nation's safety net, specifically mentioning SNAP. "More than half of Americans, at some point in their lives, will experience poverty," Obama said. "That’s why we have nutrition assistance, or the program known as SNAP. Because it makes a difference for a mother who is working, but is just having a hard time putting food on the table for her kids."

But the president didn't explicity call on Congress to protect the program from deep cuts. Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, expressed disappointment that the president didn't "draw a line in the sand against further cuts to food stamps."

"A drastic cut just took effect, and Congress is considering even deeper cuts in the coming days, Beckmann said. "A great speech is not a substitute for tough resolve on the biggest poverty issue of the year."

Today is a national day of action around SNAP—email of call (800-326-4941) and tell your members of Congress that the final farm bill must not increase hunger, and deep SNAP cuts could leave millions without food.


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