In a six-part Opportunity Lives online documentary series titled “Comeback” released last week, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) challenged his Republican colleagues to do more to tackle poverty in America.
Opportunity Lives is affiliated with the Kemp Forum, an anti-poverty summit sponsored by the Jack Kemp Foundation and co-hosted by Mr. Ryan and Republican Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) earlier this year.
In one scene of the documentary, Mr. Ryan calls on fellow Republicans to join the fight against poverty at a community meeting in Dallas with Representative Eddie Bernie Johnson (D-TX). Mr. Ryan says, “Eddie and I have known each other for a long time. We play on different teams, but we’ve got the same goals and one team, in my case, hasn’t been on the field enough lately.”
Mr. Ryan led a House Republican Task Force on Poverty, Opportunity, and Upward Mobility to develop an anti-poverty plan that was released in June (see Memo, 6/13) to serve as a blueprint for reforming America’s welfare, workforce, and education programs, including affordable housing and community development programs. The plan focused on imposing work requirements on beneficiaries of federal housing assistance, demanding evidence-based outcomes, and providing states with more flexibility. NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel released a statement highlighting several concerns with the proposal, but welcomed a national conversation on solutions to end poverty.
"Poverty in America isn’t going away,” Mr. Ryan said in a statement. “We may not read about it in the headlines every day, but it's still persistent across our country and we need to confront it head on.”
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