Congressional Black Caucusby Representative Grace Meng
Posted on 2014-01-08
MENG. Thank you. I again also want to thank the gentlelady from
California for her tremendous efforts in speaking up and advocating for
so many people who are voiceless.
Mr. Speaker, I come before you today to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the war on poverty. Our Nation has had many successes over the last 50 years. Medicaid, Medicare, SNAP, and Pell Grants are incredible programs that help our entire country. However, even with these successful programs which deserve our recognition, this is not a time for celebration.
After five decades, many would think that our congressional leaders were still committed to fighting poverty and reducing the gap between the haves and have-nots. I would still think that we are committed to helping hardworking Americans who have fallen on rough times through no fault of their own.
The war on poverty is far from over. Instead of pressing the issue, we are retreating from it. 1.3 million Americans just lost their unemployment insurance and are suffering from long-term joblessness. If we don't renew the program, 383,000 New Yorkers will lose access to benefits over the next 12 months. We would also be responsible for preventing an increase of GDP by 0.2 percent and the blocking of 200,000 jobs.
For me, and I know for many in this Chamber, inflicting avoidable pain on this country is unacceptable. With no political gimmicks, we must vote to renew unemployment insurance now.