In a brief speech on the House floor Wednesday, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) hailed the war on poverty, endorsed government welfare programs, and said the “safety net has to be something for all of us.”
“Maybe the word welfare should be changed to something of, ‘a transitional living fund.’ For that is what it is — for people to be able to live,” she said.
Jackson Lee hailed the Earned Income Credit, food and nutrition programs, jobs training and education programs, Medicaid, Medicare, and the Affordable Care Act as “huge safety nets — not handouts, but safety nets, she said.
As part of her five-minute speech, she displayed a photo of people in a long line “who are possibly looking for work.” Jackson-Lee said there’s no way to know which of those people “are near the edge of poverty or living in poverty simply because they cannot find work.”
She urged Congress to pass emergency unemployment insurance — “a transitional outreach to individuals who are chronically unemployed,” as she put it.
“Quite frankly, of all the wealthy nations, we have the lowest safety net and the highest poverty, because we’re not willing to accept the fact that sometimes an American needs help. Even a veteran — even a soldier.
“So today, I honor the 50th anniversary of the war on poverty, Mr. Speaker, and I ask us not to give up the fight because the American people are looking to us to win the war.”