Tuesday, June 7, 2016

DeLauro Statement on Speaker Ryan’s Poverty Task Force Recommendations

Policy recommendations would drive hardworking Americans deeper into poverty

WASHINGTON, DC — Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) today released the following statement regarding Speaker Paul Ryan’s recommendations to address poverty. The recommendations were developed by a Republican task force on poverty and will be released tomorrow, June 7.

“Speaker Ryan and Republicans continue to mislead and distort the truth by stating that the poverty rate has remained flat, despite spending trillions of dollars on social safety net programs. This claim is simply not true. The poverty rate has fallen substantially since we began the war on poverty, and as of 2014, we have cut the overall poverty rate by 40 percent, and the child poverty rate by 35 percent. This week, Speaker Ryan and the GOP will once again use this distortion to eviscerate social safety net programs that lift millions of people out of poverty.

“The results of our social safety net programs are clear. In 2014, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program lifted 4.7 million people out of poverty across the country, including 2.1 million children, with the average family utilizing the program for just 8 to 10 months. Further, the Child Tax Credit lifted 3.1 million people out of poverty—including 1.7 million children. And Tenant-Based Rental Assistance, along with Housing Choice Vouchers and Public Housing, lifted 2.8 million people out of poverty. This is the true story of federal efforts to address poverty and it is a story of government working.

“The reason why we have cut the poverty rate in half is America’s social safety net. However, the GOP misrepresents the truth by not using the Supplemental Poverty Measure, which accounts for programs such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit, and SNAP. Using this distortion, Speaker Ryan attacks programs like SNAP and the school lunch program with ideas like block grants that would return power to the states. This action would effectively decimate these programs, driving millions of Americans deeper into poverty and leaving them hungry.

“Congress should pursue policies that continue to lift people out of poverty, rather than instituting cuts. Democrats know how to prevent increased poverty. We should strengthen the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit, raise the minimum wage, guarantee equal pay for equal work, and ensure that all working families have access to affordable childcare. The poorest people in the country by age are our youngest children and by investing additional resources in families, we can give them a solid foundation for success. We need to pursue progressive solutions that make it easier for families to put food on the table, gas in the car, and money in the college fund.

“While Speaker Ryan rolls out a swanky new policy agenda in an attempt to offer an alternative vision to that of Donald Trump, Americans across the country are struggling. The only “better way” that Speaker Ryan’s recommendations will offer is a better way to fall into poverty. Speaker Ryan should immediately drop his recommendations, welcome Democrats and everyday Americans—including those in poverty—to the conversation, and offer real solutions to address this issue.”

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