McGovern, House Democrats Call for Strong Bipartisan Action to Address Poverty

Today, Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA) hosted a press conference with Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer, Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra, senior House Democrats, and anti-poverty advocates to call for strong investments in anti-poverty programs to help more families get back on their feet as the economy continues to recover.

Last week, Speaker Paul Ryan announced the members of a new GOP task force on poverty, but the House Republicans he selected have fought throughout their careers to enact policies that target the most vulnerable Americans instead of helping them. 

At today’s press conference, House Democrats continued to call on House Republicans to work in a bipartisan way to help the 46 million Americans living in poverty by strengthening anti-poverty programs and rejecting the failed austerity policies of past Republican Congresses.  

Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA): “We live in the richest, most powerful country in the world and yet 46 million of our fellow citizens are in poverty – including more than 15 million kids. Speaker Ryan recently announced a new Republican taskforce to tackle poverty, but every single Republican on the taskforce voted to cut SNAP by $40 billion and gut so many other programs that help low-income families. House Democrats are committed to working on a comprehensive plan to end poverty and to end hunger. We believe it is achievable. There are things that we can do better. But none of us will be silent in the face of Republican attempts to bring to a halt the war on poverty. We must be part of the solution and we must work together to build ladders of opportunity so that every family can achieve the American Dream.”

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi: "We need to confront poverty in America with fresh eyes and new thinking. If Republicans want to join Democrats in a meaningful bipartisan conversation on poverty, we welcome them.  But Republicans’ tired, trickle down agenda is no solution for struggling Americans."

Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer: “Today, I was proud to join Rep. McGovern and House Democrats to urge Speaker Ryan and House Republicans to work with us to take meaningful action to address poverty. In 2013, I joined Rep. Barbara Lee to form the Democratic Whip Task Force on Poverty, Income Inequality, and Opportunity to raise awareness about poverty in America and develop measures to lift Americans out of poverty and into the middle class. While I appreciate Speaker Ryan’s creation of the Republican task force, House Republicans have consistently pursued policies that directly target the most vulnerable Americans and it remains to be seen whether they will follow up the creation of their task force with real, meaningful action. I hope that they will do so and work with Democrats to invest in proven anti-poverty programs so that we can tackle the ongoing crisis of poverty and expand opportunity for more Americans.”

Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra: “Republicans only offer lip service to working Americans who live only a paycheck from poverty. And they've sucker-punched the middle class. We have to get back to rewarding hard work so that hardworking people like my parents, a clerical worker and construction worker, can have the chance to own their own home, send their kids to college and earn a secure retirement."

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA): “Congressional Democrats have long been committed to building ladders out of poverty for working families. As Republicans form their new task force on poverty, I hope we can achieve bipartisan consensus to help struggling Americans. But their words must be backed up by action. We know what works to end poverty: creating jobs, strengthening the safety net, building pathways into the middle class, and providing economic opportunity for all. It’s past time to invest in American families, rather than continue failed Republican policies of cut, cut, cut.”

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT): “Speaker Ryan and Republican House Members say that we spend trillions of dollars on social safety net programs and yet the poverty rate does not change. This is simply not true. Without these critical programs, more Americans would live in poverty. We must fight these unconscionable attacks on America’s poor working families, and I urge my colleagues to stand with me in ensuring that the federal budget does not harm working families and children by decimating our social safety net programs.”

Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-NC): "I find it ironic that the House GOP's poverty task force is comprised of members of Congress who blatantly attacked critical programs that help those in need. I challenge House Republicans to make good on their word by working with House Democrats to raise the minimum wage, strengthen critical education and housing programs and ensure those in need have access to quality, nutritious food."