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Democrats urge Trump administration to address massive levels of deprivation outlined in UN report

Democrats urge Trump administration to address massive levels of deprivation outlined in UN report

Democrats in Congress have urged the Trump administration to present a plan for addressing issues like child poverty and the criminalisation of the poor in the wake of a scathing report from the UN’s special rapporteur on extreme poverty.
Some of the most prominent Democrats in Congress signed on to a letter to Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, urging her to relay the findings of the report to President Donald Trump.
“We believe the massive levels of deprivation outlined in the report as well as the immense suffering this deprivation causes are an affront to any notion of the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” the senators wrote. “Given the breadth of poverty outlined in the report, these rights are simply illusory for millions in this country.”
The letter comes days after Philip Alston, the UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, released the findings from his 10-day tour of the US. Mr Alston met with everyone from federal government officials to people without homes on his trip through California, Alabama, Georgia, Puerto Rico, West Virginia, and Washington DC.
“The United States is one of the world’s richest and most powerful and technologically innovative countries;” he concluded in his report, “but neither its wealth nor its power nor its technology is being harnessed to address the situation in which 40 million people continue to live in poverty”.
Many of the frontrunners for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020 signed on to the Congressional letter, including Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris. On the House side, representatives such as Terri Sewell, Barbara Lee, and civil rights icon John Lewis signed on.
The legislators closed their letter with recommendations for how to address poverty and inequality in the US, including the elimination of bail bonds and the recognition that taxes are “not only in [our] interest, but also perfectly reconcilable with a growth agenda”.
They also demanded the recognition of health care as a human right, and urged the Trump administration to address inadequate access to things like banking services, clean water and sewage services, and internet and transportation access in rural communities.
The legislators closed by asking the administration to present Congress with a plan to fix the “appalling” rate of child poverty, destructive economic policies, and lack of access to basic necessities in underserved communities outlined in the report.
“We stand ready to work with you on such a plan,” they write.