Paul Ryan lays out new poverty plan
July 24th, 2014
08:06 AM ET
3 months ago

Paul Ryan lays out new poverty plan

Washington (CNN) – Rep. Paul Ryan spelled out his plan Thursday to fight poverty, a pilot program that would combine 11 federal programs into one pool of money for participating states.

According to the plan, which the Wisconsin Republican detailed at the American Enterprise Institute, states would voluntarily submit their own anti-poverty proposals in order to get money.

"If everything passed muster, the federal government would give the green light," he said. "And the state would get more flexibility. It would get to combine into one funding stream 11 different programs, things like food stamps, housing assistance, child care, and cash welfare."

Ryan, the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee, also serves as the House Budget Committee Chairman. Ryan’s program, titled “Opportunity Grant,” would include the same money as current law allows for anti-poverty efforts. He is to speak further about his plan at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington Thursday morning.

The program would consist of four criteria: Each state would have to spend all its allotted money on people in need; recipients would have to meet work requirements; states would each use at least two service providers to carry out their proposals (in other words, the state social welfare office wouldn’t do all the work); and a third party would monitor the state’s progress.

Ryan stressed that the point of the program is to measure the results in each state to find the best approach.

“We would not expand the program until all the evidence was in,” he said. “The point is, don't just pass a law and hope for the best. If you've got an idea, let's test it and see the results.”

The poverty rate in the country is 16%, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau statistics from 2012.

Ryan, who hasn’t ruled out a 2016 presidential bid, has been vocal about finding ways to help the country’s poor, an issue that’s become a top priority for Republicans following the 2012 presidential loss, in which Republicans lost badly among lower-income minority voters. Other potential 2016 contenders, including Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, have spelled out their own plans.

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Income inequality and wage gaps have also become a main focus of President Obama’s second term.

For his part, Ryan has been visiting urban communities and meeting with non-traditional Republican voters to assess what’s needed to fight poverty, using conservative principles.

He released a 204-page report earlier this year on the current state of federal efforts to alleviate poverty, listing 92 programs designed to help the poor at a cost of $799 billion.

The congressman landed in hot water earlier this year when he made controversial comments in a radio interview, saying there’s a "tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work."

He later met with the Congressional Black Caucus, in part to address his comments, which he labeled “inarticulate.” But they also met to discuss some of his ideas to fight poverty.

Critics point to Ryan’s history as the lead man on budget proposals that called for billions in cuts to social welfare programs, such as Medicaid. His measures were passed by the Republican-controlled House but didn’t go anywhere in the Democratic-lead Senate.

Hillary Clinton, who's seriously considering a second run for the White House in 2016, said Ryan's new plan is "a bad idea."

"All one has to look at is nearly half the state that refused to expand Medicaid to realize why it is a bad idea," she said on NPR. "The states won't even take what are very generous terms from the federal government to give working people and poor people access to health care. How can we turn over (to the states) all of the resources that are meant to assist those in need?"

Ryan's work on poverty issues dates to the 1990s when he was an aide to the late GOP vice presidential candidate Jack Kemp, who headed a policy group called "Empower America." Kemp visited poor neighborhoods and pushed proposals to earmark federal and private resources to "empowerment zones" to lift people out of poverty.

CNN’s Deirdre Walsh and Leigh Ann Caldwell contributed to this report.


Filed under: Paul Ryan • Uncategorized
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    -I bet these guys are getting clue from Eric Cantor election outcome.

    July 24, 2014 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  2. Norma Vessels

    I don't want to hear any of Paul Ryan's tricky plans to help anyone. His plan wouldn't help, but harm .. like the time he wanted to cut money out of Medicare. We pay for Medicare .. Paul Ryan needs to leave it alone. And leave the poor people alone, too. They've got enough problems to deal with. They sure don't need you. You lost your bid for any more terms in office, so go home in January and stop thinking up schemes. You're not good at it.

    July 24, 2014 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  3. salty dog

    This will turn out to be another way for the gop to divert funds to their contractors, likely haliburton will get some, and what little is left, completely ineffective, then of course cancel them altogether because they don't work. I'm not sure how, but we know what the end goal is, no help for the poor, the billionaires really, really need more tax breaks, don't worry, they'll let the working class make up the difference.

    July 24, 2014 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  4. salty dog

    A guy who's willing to throw his own mother to the wolves isn't my first choice when looking for compassion. Go home Eddie.

    July 24, 2014 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Paul Ryan has already "spelled it out" fof the poor. Let me repeat it. "I'm cutting you off. Get a JOB."

    July 24, 2014 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  6. A Kickin Donkey

    Can this even pass the smell test? Does it at least avoid the TROJAN HORSE approaches of prior GOP anti-poverty programs that seek to transfer more American wealth for the affluent?

    Secondly, does it begin to reverse the transfer of the taxation burden ( including hiking "fees" not admitted as taxes. . . . Like EZ-PASS) away from the working poor and wealth accumulating MIDDLE CLASS) Does it favor income earned by WORKING at the expense of money made.via Capital Gains?

    Does it advance better performance in schools to create higher skilled workers who,historically earn higher wages?

    Does it require firms that want to sell in the LUCRATIVE AMERICAN MARKET to build final assemblies HERE.

    July 24, 2014 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  7. Name JK. SFL. THE GOP HOWDEE GOWDEE SHOW with special guest ISSA the CLOWN

    The so called GOP financial GURU Ryan has his head up his A, this GOP no nothing failure is a prime example of the GOP failure to take action on ANYTHING . Good luck in November GOP , you will need it .

    July 24, 2014 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  8. kladams707

    While I'm not sure I completely agree, I do like the idea itself. In fact, I've thought this is more in line with hose ACA (Obamacare) & Department of Education should work. The feds would have standards but states would have the option on how to meet those standards.

    July 24, 2014 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  9. The Real Tom Paine

    Interesting idea. Try it and see if it works. If it does not, scrap it. The key thing would to not give the states a blank check with o oversight: Rick Perry and others took stim money to balance their budgets retroactively, which flies in the face of helping the poor. The other question is who would independently judge the results? If its just another group of political appointees, ie hacks, it would defeat the purpose and the credibility of the program.

    July 24, 2014 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  10. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    In other words the poor are going to be screwed even harder. And in this instance, it's not going to be good.

    July 24, 2014 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  11. guest

    every picture of paul ryan seems to cast a dark and ominous shadow on the american flag.

    July 24, 2014 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  12. guest

    'let's combine all money streams into one money stream to make our skimming nets more effective" – paul ryan's plan for the poor.

    July 24, 2014 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  13. Dead Bear

    The GOP's plan to help the poor is to cut taxes on the rich.

    July 24, 2014 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  14. salty dog

    A wolf in sheep's clothing, what would ever make a poor person think this guy is going to help, the ones who've been around know, the more they tell you their going to help, the worse it's going to be.

    July 24, 2014 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  15. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Ryan, the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee, also serves as the House Budget Committee Chairman. Ryan’s program, titled “Opportunity Grant,” would include the same money as current law allows for anti-poverty efforts. He is to speak further about his plan at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington Thursday morning."

    Having decided to cut so many programs for the poor, Paul Ryan is now running around the country telling states they must do what he says prior to receiving the dollars that are left to be distributed to states?

    "The program would consist of four criteria: Each state would have to spend all its allotted money on people in need; recipients would have to meet work limits; states would each use two service providers to carry out their proposals (in other words, the state social welfare office wouldn’t do all the work); and a third party would monitor the state’s progress."

    I don't know. Looks like a whole lot more bureaucracy has been added, making it less likely those in need won't spend more time in line. Who would determine who the "third party" that monitors the state's progress be? And what would determine the "third party's" job description of "helping the poor" or "helping keep the poor off the rosters"?

    July 24, 2014 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  16. Gunderson

    Um,
    Plan already in comic strip. Sargent Snorkel have answer. Beetle Bailey get other end. Maybe you also on "Other End". I think we already try Ryan Plan. Now have 18 Trillion Dollar Federal Debt. Old Gunderson like Sargent Snorkel plan better.

    July 24, 2014 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  17. salty dog

    Sociopath? All the compassion of a T-rex .

    July 24, 2014 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  18. Chartercandidate

    For me this is the reason why I don't vote Republican. This is not a bad starting point with some good idea and some areas I'd like to tweak. Conservatism says that since the GOP doesn't hold the senate or White House, you negotiate with Democrats and no matter what, the social safety net moves to the right. Conservatives say 'take it or leave it', and after the President doesn't agree to their demands, claim that Obama is too stubborn and won't negotiate. I have no faith that Ryan would be willing to negotiate with the Democrats to tweak some parts of this bill.

    July 24, 2014 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  19. Thom

    Republicans live in their own little perfect world and have no sense of reality....... Let me clue them in......without the right to chose, if Rowe Vs Wade never happened, every state would be bankrupt, every charity would be bankrupt and crime would double....because you would have an additional 1.2M children born EACH year to people who cannot afford them, have no insurance to bare them, or have the money to feed them or cloth them. Those cost would be passed on to everyone else, and quite frankly, it would bankrupt the system..........so GOP.....do us all a favor and start thinking with your heads instead of your hearts. I understand you like shooting yourselves in the foot, but we're trying to help you here.

    July 24, 2014 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  20. Name JK. SFL. THE GOP HOWDEE GOWDEE SHOW with special guest ISSA the CLOWN

    Ryan has been on the public dole sence he was a teenager. Time to kick this GOP sponge of the taxpayers money with lots of WORTHLESS GOP ideas to the CURB in November along with most other GOP worthless CLOWNS!!!!

    July 24, 2014 09:44 am at 9:44 am |