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Washington, D.C. – Bread for the World is encouraged by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) new proposal to reduce poverty and increase upward mobility in the United States. Released today at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the plan, called Expanding Opportunity in America, is an important contribution to a serious bipartisan dialogue about ending hunger and poverty.
“We are pleased to see such a high-ranking member of Congress take poverty seriously and offer his own plan to address it,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. "We may have disagreements with some of his proposals, but we hope others in Congress will take note and offer their own plans.”
Bread for the World supports some of the proposal's recommendations around sentencing reform. Bread believes sentencing reform is necessary, starting with reducing sentences for non-violent drug offenders. Bread for the World supports the Smarter Sentencing Act raised in Ryan’s plan.
Bread also supports expanding the earned income tax credit (EITC) for adults without children. For several years, Bread’s members have advocated for making the EITC simpler and easier to claim, while maintaining important improvements enacted in 2009 and provided it is still available to people with complex situations.
“We support helping low-income families save, and there are many proposals out there that promote asset-building,” said Beckmann.
Bread for the World strongly disagrees with turning SNAP (formerly food stamps) into a block grant, a proposal Ryan supports. While poverty and unemployment reached record levels in the recession, the food-insecurity rate remained fairly level because programs like SNAP are able to automatically respond to spikes in need.
Bread for the World also notes that job creation and economic growth are critical to ending hunger and poverty. Work requirements set forth in Ryan’s plan are not effective if there are no jobs available.
Beckmann concluded, “The only way we can get to policy improvements for people in poverty is through bipartisan discussion and compromise. We hope every member of Congress will add to the conversation by laying out their own anti-poverty agenda. We must generate the political will to end hunger and poverty.”
By Marlysa D. Gamblin and Kathleen King
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