RSC Anti-Poverty Initiative
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
–The Declaration of Independence
Whether conservative, liberal, or somewhere in between, Americans generally agree that the things we earn give us the greatest satisfaction. Some might even define the American Dream as achieving success based on one’s own merit – to be able to say, “I earned this!”
There may be no greater obstacle to the pursuit of happiness than poverty. With poverty at historic highs after nearly fifty years of the federal government's "War on Poverty," the question policymakers must confront is how to best combat it effectively and help Americans lift themselves up the economic ladder without further increasing the size of the administrative state.
In an effort to combat poverty through the promise of free enterprise and the power of strong families, the Republican Study Committee is partnering with the Heritage Foundation and the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise to connect conservative solutions with real-world problem solvers. Through this Anti-Poverty Initiative, led by Reps. Steve Southerland (R-FL), Jim Jordan (R-OH), Tim Scott (R-SC), and Allen West (R-FL), the goal is to help RSC members create relationships with leaders helping restore broken and impoverished communities—and then to publicly advance conservative solutions on poverty.
Too often, federal policy anti-poverty efforts have misdiagnosed the need. Material poverty is often a symptom of deeper and more intransigent problems, like fatherlessness and community breakdown. That’s why personal responsibility, healthy relationships beginning with strong marriage, and civil society institutions are critical to fighting poverty and social breakdown.
This initiative will seek to make policy more responsive to these realities. Building on the success of past proposals like welfare reform and school choice, policymakers will learn from community leaders about additional promising solutions in areas like foster care, financial literacy, violence prevention, and promoting healthy marriage.
Aspects of this initiative will include, but not be limited to, the following:
- Forums and Outreach with Community Leaders
- Research and Education
- Policy Briefs
- Policy Solutions (such as welfare reform and school choice)
RSC Press Release: Conservatives Launch Anti-Poverty Initiative, Hear from Effective Community Activists
The Daily Caller: Republicans Begin to Confront Poverty at the Grassroots
The Heritage Foundation: Look to Grassroots Ideas for Welfare Reform
Roll Call: Republican Study Committee, Anti-Poverty Group Reach Out
Reps. Jordan and Southerland Op-ed: To Fight Poverty, Empower People
Outreach with Community Leaders
112th Congress Anti-Poverty Monthly Newsletters: November 28
112th Congress Anti-Poverty Monthly Newsletters: December 21
Related RSC Legislation:
The State Health Flexibility Act
The Jobs Through Growth Act
Preserving Work Requirements for Welfare Programs Act