Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions delivered the Weekly Republican Address Saturday, highlighting the fact that both poverty and spending on government assistance continues to grow in America.
“We spend a trillion dollars each year on federal poverty programs. That’s more than the budget for Social Security or Defense,” he said. “But poverty seems only to increase.”
Sessions, the ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee, highlighted the low-income troubles in the nation’s capitol, where 1 in 3 children in Washington D.C. live in poverty and 2 in 3 live in single parent homes. Just northward in Baltimore, Sessions added, 1 in 3 are living on food stamps and 1 in 3 children are living in poverty.
“Americans are committed to helping our sisters and brothers who are struggling, but we are seeing the damaging human consequences of our broken welfare state,” he said.
The Alabama senator slammed the Agriculture Department for its aggressive outreach efforts to enroll more people on food stamps, including strategies to overcome “mountain pride,” and the USDA’s contention that “each $5 in new [food stamp] benefits generates almost twice that amount in economic activity for the community.”
“Isn’t a better goal to help more Americans find good-paying jobs, to have the pride and self-respect that comes from that?” he asked. “Isn’t this a superior form of compassion that has a more solid moral foundation? Yet every time lawmakers try to reform the bureaucracy to accomplish these goals, they meet with the same response: President Obama attacks the reformers, saying such ideas aren’t compassionate or fair. But what is truly unfair and lacking in compassion is to protect a federal bureaucracy that is failing those who need our help the most.”
Sessions went on to attack the president for his desire to grow government, and Senate Democrats for their failure to produce a budget in four years.
“Apparently, the government is perfect and requires no reform,” he said. “That would explain why Senate Democrats have refused to pass a legally-mandated 10-year budget plan in four years. ”
Senate Democrats are expected to release a budget next week — a budget Sessions said he fears will go along with the president’s big government approach of more taxes, spending and debt.
“We need to grow the economy – not the government,” he said.
Sessions’ solution: “Make welfare temporary and the welfare office an employment and job training office. Unlock America’s vast energy resources to create millions of good-paying jobs,” he said. “Defend American workers from unfair foreign trade practices. Reform the tax code to make America globally competitive, creating more jobs here. Make government leaner, less wasteful so it produces greater results for the money you earned and sent here. Enforce an immigration policy that protects legal US workers from unlawful competition. Eliminate every burdensome federal rule or regulation that isn’t needed and that destroys jobs. And, finally, we must balance the federal budget.”