Rep. Paul Ryan Promotes New Safety Net Plan

Image: Rep. Paul Ryan Promotes New Safety Net Plan (Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Landov)

Monday, 28 Jul 2014 08:46 AM

By Melanie Batley

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Rep. Paul Ryan is promoting the proposal he made last week to overhaul the nation's social safety net by giving states greater control over federal poverty programs.

"The federal government's approach has ended up maintaining poverty, managing poverty," the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee said on NBC's "Meet the Press," The Washington Post reported.  "In many ways, it has disincentivized people from going to work."

The plan would consolidate existing anti-poverty programs and extend more flexibility to states to allocate funds for lower-income Americans. It is also thought to be designed to help rebrand the GOP to appeal to lower-income and working class voters.

Specifically, the plan would consolidate 11 programs, including food stamps and housing vouchers, into one block grant for states. State governments, meanwhile, would work with local officials, nonprofits, and charities to distribute funds, the Post reported.

"We don't want to have a poverty management system that simply perpetuates poverty," Ryan said. "We want to get at the root causes of poverty, to get people out of poverty."

The plan contrasts with Ryan's traditional image, as chairman of the House Budget Committee, for backing steep cuts in spending and deficit reduction.

His latest plan has already drawn criticism from progressives.

"We will oppose any plan that uses the sunny language of 'reform' as a guise to cut vital safety-net programs," California Rep. Barbara Lee and Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, both Democrats, wrote in an opinion piece published last Wednesday by The Huffington Post.

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