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CORRECTED: Speaker’s Anti-Poverty Initiative “The Best Way to Solve Systemic Poverty”

WASHINGTON – Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (WI-01) released the Republican Party’s first of six platforms in a vision for a confident America on Tuesday (June 8). The policy position, entitled “A Better Way to Fight Poverty,” (.pdf) tackles America’s poverty epidemic in a compassionate, policy-driven manner, according to Congressman Bruce Westerman (AR-04).

“The best way to solve systemic poverty is by putting Americans back to work,” Westerman said. “Speaker Ryan’s bold plan gives Americans a detailed plan for how Congress can do just that. Establishing a work requirement for able-bodied, working age adults is a necessary first step to get Americans on the path to success, but it is not the only way to bring more Americans into the middle class. We must streamline the programs created to help the neediest among us, cutting waste and providing the assistance needed to get Americans back on their feet and providing for themselves and their families. I am committed to working with Speaker Ryan and House leadership to implement ‘A Better Way to Fight Poverty’ and the other parts of ‘A Better Way’ which will create a stronger America for generations to come.”

According to the Speaker’s office, this first plank of “A Better Way” aims at lifting families out of poverty and onto the ladder of opportunity through the following:

  • Improving skills and schools. To break the cycle of poverty, we have to protect the next generation from poverty. Our plan makes sure that poor kids have more chances to overcome obstacles at every stage, from childhood through college.
  • Rewarding work. A good job is the surest way out of poverty, but most welfare programs do not actually require or even encourage work. If you are capable, we will expect you to work or prepare for work as a condition of assistance.
  • Tailoring benefits to people’s needs. Under the status quo, you are punished for working hard and doing the right thing. Instead of a one-size-fits-all system, our plan matches poverty-fighting programs with your needs so that it’s easier for you to take a job and start a family.
  • Helping you plan and save for the future. The basic tools to put away money and save remain beyond the reach of too many Americans. Our plan expands access to basic banking services and makes it easier for you and your family to plan for the future.
  • Demanding results. Washington measures success by how much it spends, not by how much it helps. Our plan opens up the system to accountability and collaboration, backing ideas that work on the front lines.

The plan unveiled by the Republican Conference does not increase federal spending, but instead takes current spending levels and directs it to real solutions that are working in communities across America.

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