Out of Poverty Caucus

July 26, 2011
Speech


According to the latest figures available, an estimated 43.5 million Americans are living in poverty. 

Ladies and gentlemen, that’s more than the entire population of California!

Communities of color continue to be disproportionately affected by poverty.
 
The national unemployment rate is 9.2 percent.  In my home state of Georgia, the unemployment rate is even higher at 9.8 percent.

With millions of people in poverty and a high unemployment rate, you would think that Congress would do what it was elected to do - create jobs and pass legislation that spurs economic growth.

But in the past seven months, the Republican majority has not moved a single jobs bill.

Instead, this House majority is pushing bills through that take away grand-mama’s Social Security check, dismantle the Affordable Care Act that will provide health care to millions of uninsured Americans and cut a first generation college student’s Pell grants.

This is ridiculous.

Instead of bringing us opportunity and the American Dream, the Republican majority gives us Cut, Cap and end Medicare. 

Staying committed to safety net programs in health, education, housing, and employment is both a moral and economic responsibility that we cannot ignore.
The Cut, Cap and end Medicare Act that the majority passed will not get America on the road to prosperity. 

It would require spending cuts of $111 billion in fiscal year 2012, which the non-partisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates would cut about 700,000 jobs. 

This bill would cap federal spending at levels that can only be achieved by slashing Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, and student loans.
 
Rather than closing corporate loopholes and asking millionaires, billionaires and Big Oil to pay their fair share, the majority wants to cut Medicaid, Social Security, veterans’ benefits, and foster care for abused and neglected children. 

However, there is a budget model that would safeguard America’s children, seniors and most vulnerable communities. The Progressive Caucus or People’s budget would make targeted cuts that preserve our national security, put Social Security and Medicare on stable footing going forward, raises vital revenue equitably and protects and invests in the American people.

Now is the time Congress needs to be doing all it can to help families get back on their feet, not pull the rug out from under them. 

Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare and the working poor in America did not cause the so-called debt crisis.

The record debt run up by the Bush Administration was a direct result of Republican’s two unfunded wars, failed economic policies, and failed oversight of the financial services sector.

What we need to do is support more grant programs like the “Pathways Out of Poverty” funds that put residents in my district back work in green jobs. 

Americans want to work.  Let’s focus on getting Americans what they need ---- jobs, jobs, jobs!
Thank you, M. Speaker, and I yield back the balance of my time. 

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