Representative (and failed VP candidate) Paul Ryan (R-WI) is trying once again to rebrand himself and his party. On Monday morning’s Morning Joe, he tried to sell himself as “focused on poverty.” Yet, just last week he voted to toss families off of the food stamp program if they are unable to find work. Yes, last week, Paul Ryan wanted more cuts to SNAP, and this week he is “focused on poverty.”
On Morning Joe, Ryan lamented the fact that Democrats didn’t deliver on the Farm Bill votes they promised, and then tried to sell himself as a compassionate conservative who cares about poverty in a rather desperate and transparent attempt to rebrand. He said, “… I’m focused on poverty these days, this is why I’m focused on — we’ve got the 50th anniversary of the war on poverty coming up next year. We don’t have much to show for it.”
Paul Ryan: So it was a close election. Huge stakes. And that’s what’s distressing. Knowing what we were going to do and how different this is from what we’re doing. We were going to focus on jobs. We were going to focus on growth on getting this budget under control. One of the reasons Mitt picked me. To see we’re not doing those things to me is distressing. That means get back at work, brush yourself off, stop sulking and get at it.
I’m a conservative who believes our founding principles are the key principles for the day and the best if applied to our problems to solve problems. And we need to have that kind of temperament. This is why I’m focused on poverty and — we have the 50th anniversary on the war on poverty coming up. We don’t have much to show for it.
The highest rate in a generation. I think there are better ideas that we can use to approach and attack the root causes of poverty and as conservatives we should not cede the moral high ground on this issue. We shouldn’t cede the playing field to a political monopoly.
… We should compete for everybody’s vote. That’s my point. I think we have better ideas and approaches which we need to continue to develop to show everybody that we have better solutions to help them improve their lot in life.
To sum it up, Paul Ryan’s idea of helping Americans improve their lot in life is throwing them off of the food stamp program when they are looking for work.
As usual, Ryan is not telling the public the whole story, in fact, it’s a lie upon a lie, topped off with a Big Lie (caring about poverty). The reason Democrats wouldn’t “deliver” the votes they promised is because Republicans attached a poison pill to the bill, in the form of an amendment that would have thrown families off of the food stamp program.
Ryan voted for Rep. Steve Southerland’s (R-FL) amendment to the Farm Bill, which “included an unprecedented provision to reward governors with large sums of unrestricted cash if they cut families off the SNAP (food stamp) program because the parents, through no fault of their own, cannot find jobs,” according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Furthermore, this amendment was misleadingly described as a work requirement, but SNAP has had work requirements for years. The amendment that Ryan supported would have allowed states to cut off people who want to work and are looking for a job but haven’t found one yet, including parents with young children and people with disabilities.
Per the CBPP:
It would allow states to end benefits for most adults who receive or apply for SNAP — including parents with young children and many people with disabilities — if they are not working or participating in a work or training program for at least 20 hours a week. The amendment provides no jobs and no funds for work or training programs, and it does not require states to make any work opportunities available. People who want to work and are looking for a job but haven’t found one could be cut off. That’s what makes this fundamentally different from a normal work requirement.
This is what it looks like when Paul Ryan wants to remake himself as a hero to the war on poverty. He’s focused on poverty, alright. He’s focused on making it a death sentence. This is the same man whose budget was boycotted by the Nuns due to its cruelty.
Paul Ryan is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Beware the words that come out of his mouth, for most assuredly, the truth is not being represented.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.