Rep. Frank Guinta (R-NH): A Better Way to Fight Poverty

New Horizons for New Hampshire in Manchester provides critical services, such as food, shelter, medicine and addiction counseling for our state’s homeless population. I recently visited there, helping volunteers to deliver hot meals to needy Granite Staters. When I was mayor of Manchester, I made their plight a priority, conceiving a 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness, and am proud to continue my work to alleviate poverty with House Republicans.

Despite many trillions of dollars to combat poverty over the years, and dozens of overlapping programs to fix the problem, the poverty rate remains largely unchanged. According to the latest Census numbers, 46.7 million people in the United States live in poverty. One in five is a child. To change persistent poverty, we must change our national strategy.

House Republicans have a plan. “A Better Way” would have an immediate impact, alleviating symptoms of poverty, while addressing underlying causes: a weak economy, unemployment, unaffordable housing, and other costly basics. First, our plan would strengthen work requirements for federal assistance programs. Discouraged workers, an historic number of whom have dropped out, would find new incentives to rejoin the workforce. After all, a good-paying job is the best anti-poverty program there is.

A Better Way includes training programs to help out-of-work Americans develop skills to secure a job in the modern economy. Furthermore, our plan would reduce federal restrictions on grants to states to give them maximum control over training programs that match their local populations and industries. Rather than raw spending figures, a weak measure of success, our plan focuses on real results and would replicate them across the country.

Washington’s role should be smaller, and Americans’ power over their own lives should be much greater. A Better Way would make housing and education benefits portable, allowing many to escape concentrated poverty, and House Republicans’ plan would simplify federal student aid to reduce personal debt. We would expand access to financial and retirement planning, in order to create economic independence, as opposed to government dependence.

A cycle of desperation and dependence makes poverty a seemingly impossible foe. But House Republicans have A Better Way to defeat it. The residents of New Horizons for New Hampshire are counting on us.