Hoyer, Lee Statement on Executive Order to Keep Millions in Poverty

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) and Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA), chair of the Democratic Whip Task Force on Poverty, Income Inequality, and Opportunity, released the following statement in response to President Trump’s executive order to undermine proven anti-poverty programs:

“This executive order is further evidence that President Trump doesn’t understand what it’s like to struggle in our economy.  Democrats want to get more Americans out of poverty and into the workforce, but pulling the rug out from under working families is not the way to do it.  Work requirements do not create jobs; they instead create barriers to assistance for those who need them, oftentimes when their situation is most dire.  Instead, we should be focused on finding ways to help those in poverty access tools and resources to lift themselves up.  If the President truly wishes to restore ‘independence and dignity to millions of Americans,’ he ought to work with our Task Force and with advocacy organizations to identify areas where better-targeted resources and support will help more people lift themselves from poverty faster.  Implementing work requirements, as the Trump Administration seeks to do, will only bar those most in need from receiving essential benefits like nutrition assistance (SNAP), Medicaid, and rent subsidies while they’re trying hard to get back on their feet.

“Furthermore, this Executive Order perpetuates false and racist stereotypes about certain groups supposedly taking advantage of government assistance.  In truth, those needing assistance are hard-working Americans who remain unemployed through no fault of their own or are living paycheck-to-paycheck and are simply trying to feed and shelter their families.  We will not sit idly by as the 40 million Americans living in poverty are denied basic human empathy and dignity by this Administration and its Republican partners in Congress.”

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