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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

 12:48 AM 

Ryan unveils plan to combat poverty

House Speaker Paul Ryan today is rolling out a plan to combat poverty, the first in a series of planks in the House GOP’s “A Better Way” policy agenda that will be announced over the coming weeks.

Ryan, R-Janesville, is to unveil the plan at a drug and alcohol rehab facility in Washington, D.C.

The first two planks of the agenda will be released this week, including today’s plan on poverty and a national security plan on Thursday. The remaining four planks -- on regulations, the Constitution, healthcare, and taxes -- will be released in the following weeks. 

The anti-poverty plan aims to incentivize work, customize benefits based on needs, improve education and skills training, help people plan financially and save for retirement, and hold programs accountable for meeting goals. 

Work-related provisions in the plan include putting pressure on states to connect welfare recipients with jobs, requiring work or work preparation for food stamps and housing benefits, and providing states flexibility to help those receiving unemployment insurance find a job more quickly. The plan would also make changes to the Supplemental Security Income program to provide access for children to special education and physical or mental therapy in lieu of cash benefits to prepare them for work. 

The plan calls for customizing the way benefits are packaged to ensure people are not penalized for getting married or earning more through work, and seeks to streamline and consolidate programs to improve service and access.

Education and skills related items in the plan involve making improvements to early childhood care and education, creating customizable benefits to help at-risk youth, improving child nutrition programs, and making changes to job training programs and financial aid for college.

To help people plan and save for retirement, the plan would increase access to 401(k)s for small businesses, change Dodd-Frank regulations to allow people in poverty greater access to banking services and increase access to affordable retirement advice. 

To ensure programs are working, the plan calls for common measures across programs and improvements in data collection. The plan would also adopt a “pay-for-outcomes model” for programs to encourage competition and to discontinue ineffective programs. The government would also partner with private-sector agencies to provide them funding, but only once goals are achieved.

See the plan overview.


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