Press Releases

Tom Reed Highlights Need to Reward Working Poor

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Washington, DC, March 26, 2014 | comments

Tom Reed testified before the House Budget Committee Tuesday regarding welfare reform in the House Budget Resolution for Fiscal Year 2015. Reed used the opportunity to lay out priorities to move the country forward and stand with the working poor.  

“The Budget Resolution is an opportunity to rework, retool and reform the federal welfare system to consolidate the 80-plus programs and help more Americans get back to work and get ahead,” Reed said. “As the House Budget Committee works to put together a budget based on taxpayers’ priorities, we will continue to use our voice to highlight the priorities of the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes.”

Reed says the current welfare system is failing the 46 million Americans living in poverty, limiting their opportunities to get ahead and encouraging an endless cycle of dependence. He pointed to the fact that the number of Americans living at or below the poverty line is higher than ever and introduced legislation earlier this month to better care for those in need. Reed’s HAND UP Act allows states to test new ways to engage families and individuals on welfare and give them the tools to succeed and work.

Specifically, Reed asked that success be measured by those helped out of poverty: “No longer can the amount of money spent or the number of programs administered be a measure of success,” Reed said before the Budget Committee. “That’s not fair to hardworking taxpayers looking for a job or struggling from one paycheck to the next. The real measure of success is how many people we help out of poverty.”

Reed’s testimony also focused on the need to “require work, reward work.” Reed says that rewarding individuals in poverty who are working and trying to get ahead was a driving force behind the bipartisan welfare reform of the 1990s and the White Houses’ efforts to waive work requirements for welfare recipients undermines their progress. 

“If we require work as a condition for benefits and reward individuals who work with support to help them get ahead, it will help break the current attitude that working more doesn’t pay,” Reed continued. “We should be teaching individuals to fish instead of handing them one.”

While the Senate has said it will not produce a budget this year, House Budget Committee leaders have said the House will again put forth a responsible budget that grows the economy and shrinks the national debt.

The President released his own budget proposal earlier this month. Reed said the proposal was “not a recipe for economic growth or getting Americans back to work" because the proposal “raises taxes, increases Washington spending and pushes our country even deeper into debt.” Reed said, “instead of investing in Washington D.C. bureaucracy we should be investing in opportunities for job creation.”


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