Today, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and the House of Representatives’ Task Force on Poverty, Opportunity, and Upward Mobility released a plan that will launch a bipartisan discussion on hunger and poverty and the policies required to end them. ELCA Advocacy appreciates Speaker Ryan’s leadership, and that of all who make poverty in our nation a priority for conversation and action.
“As Christians, loving God and loving our neighbors includes commitment to any who suffer from hunger or poverty,” said the Rev. Amy Reumann, ELCA Director for Advocacy. “We are pleased that the plan doesn’t propose to cut or institute block-grants for anti-poverty programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and that it focuses on areas of importance to ELCA hunger work, including housing, childhood education and criminal justice reform as part of the larger picture.”
As a member of the Circle of Protection, a coalition of Christian denominations and anti-poverty organizations, the ELCA was part of meetings with Speaker Ryan’s office leading up to today’s release. Circle of Protection leaders offered this letter recommending key principles to include in the House committee’s plan.
ELCA Advocacy supports the plan’s intent to emphasize the importance of job training and the need to reduce barriers to employment. “We support adequate funding for poverty programs and encourage strong linkages between job training, work and support for families,” said John Johnson, ELCA Program Director for Domestic Policy.
ELCA Advocacy will continue to work with our advocates across the country to engage Speaker Ryan and members of Congress in this important discussion during the election year and beyond. As a church committed to racial justice, our participation will address areas not explored in the plan, including the disparate impact of poverty on people of color and the reality of individuals who face serious barriers to employment.
“In our meeting with Circle of Protection leaders prior to the plan’s release, Speaker Ryan’s staff noted that his Catholic faith led him to consider the whole person in addressing poverty,” noted Reumann. “ELCA Advocacy looks forward to working with our leaders to address hunger and poverty in a way that acknowledges the God-given dignity and worth of all persons.”