House Speaker Paul Ryan said dumping more money into welfare programs isn’t a viable way to get people out of poverty during the roll out of the GOP’s plan to tackle the issue at House of Hope, a drug and alcohol residential treatment program in Washington, D.C.’s Anacostia neighborhood, Tuesday.
Ryan, joined by six Republican lawmakers and a number of workers and residents at the charity, laid out the party’s blueprint, saying the current system fails to promote upward mobility, keeping people trapped in poverty and reliant on government subsidies.
“The problem we have had in government for too long is we think the way to fight poverty is to treat its symptoms, and when we treat the symptoms of poverty we perpetuate poverty,” he said. “We should measure success based on results, outcomes, are our efforts working to actually get people out of poverty instead of measuring success based on input, by effort – are we spending enough money? Do we have enough programs? Do we have enough people on those programs?”
House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady of Texas agreed, saying programs like House of Hope, headed by CEO Bishop Shirley, are more effective stimulating upward mobility than big government, adding programs aimed at helping people move from welfare to jobs need to be held accountable.
“We’re going to measure results because at the end of the day, for a government that measures how many red wood peckers we have, how many toilets in homes, how much beer content is in ale, why don’t we measure the lives of families who want to escape poverty?” he questioned, adding that would change under the proposal.
The members of the Republican poverty task forces’ plan consists of five platforms: “rewarding work, tailoring benefits to people’s needs, demanding results, improving schools and skills and saving for the future.”
The 36-page proposal calls for an increase in work requirements for certain welfare programs and expanding access to 401ks to allow low-income families to save for retirement.
Democrats slammed the plan as recycled ideas of the Republican party and vowed to release their own blueprint.
“Block grants – or ‘giving states more flexibility,’ as the Republican plan refers to them – are not new; they are just an old way to reduce accountability and facilitate cuts to health care, food assistance, and housing for struggling families,” House Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin and Rep Lloyd Doggett of Texas said in a statement.
The poverty plan is the first of a six-part policy agenda, titled “A Better Way,” slated to be laid out this month.
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