Speaker Paul Ryan (Wis.) and other top Republicans are taking a serious look at adopting a sweeping anti-poverty plan long championed by black Democrats on Capitol Hill.
Ryan has told the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) he’s pressing GOP appropriators to consider the CBC’s strategy of shifting more federal money to parts of the country with persistent poverty.
Rep. Hal Rogers, the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, is on board. The Kentucky Republican said he’s looking seriously at the targeted funding approach as the Republicans craft their spending bills for fiscal 2017.
“I’m very interested,” Rogers told The Hill.
Clyburn’s model would direct at least 10 percent of federal spending on discretionary programs to communities where at least 20 percent of the population has lived below the poverty line for at least the last 30 years.
With Ryan now holding the gavel, the Democrats say, the targeted funding push has new legs.
“He wasn’t Speaker then, but now he can make it happen. … The dynamics have changed,” Butterfield said. “If the Speaker wants it to happen, I believe it can happen.”
There’s a practical reason for GOP leaders to embrace the 10-20-30 approach: Of the hundreds of counties that would be covered under the formula, a vast majority are represented by Republicans. It’s a dynamic that hasn’t been overlooked by Ryan, who told the CBC last week that Republican districts stand to benefit most, according to several members.
“He said, ‘Look, I understand there’s more Republican districts would be impacted than Democratic,’ ” Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), a former CBC chairman, said afterwards.
“And we said, ‘Yeah, we’ve been trying to tell you guys that for years.’ ”
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