Ryan to Newsmax: Any Reform of Welfare Must Be Means-Tested

Image: Ryan to Newsmax: Any Reform of Welfare Must Be Means-Tested (Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Landov)

Thursday, 31 Jul 2014 08:55 PM

By John Gizzi

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In making his case for the overhaul of welfare programs, House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan on Thursday insisted that any reform programs must be means-tested to make sure only those genuinely in need receive their services.

"The program has to be means-tested," the Wisconsin Republican told Newsmax at a press breakfast hosted by the Christian Monitor in Washington, D.C.

"[The services] have to go to the poor."

Ryan, the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee, emphasized that any new program to assist the nation's poor would have to be "targeted to need, means-tested, [include] job training and the search for a job, and [include] outcomes accountability."

He added that future welfare programs would have to be assessed for their results and rated "by a third party outside federal and state government."

"We have to find out what is working well," Ryan said.

The Badger State's lawmaker's breakfast with the press was the latest meeting he has held since completing his tour visiting with organizations such as Catholic Charities and Lutheran Social Works to helped sculpt a new government "safety net"to help the poor.

"I want to start a conversation"on welfare reform, Ryan said, emphasizing that he wants to use what works for local charities in assisting the poor as a model for government programs. He also stressed that he wanted future welfare programs "to give states and localities the ability to customize needs."

Asked whether his idea of bloc grants of assistance to states and localities could mean that assistance to the poor is in the hands of governors who are "not warm-hearted"and "from the same states as those who refuse to expand Medicaid," Ryan shot back "that's mixing apples and oranges."

He noted that his own state of Wisconsin has "done a phenomenal job" of weaving in "welfare to work."

And because it is managed by the states and addresses local needs, "it is the opposite of Obamacare, which is a top-down approach dictated by the federal government.

"The federal government should be manning the supply lines, not the front lines."  

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.
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