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Sutherland, Van Hollen battle over poverty policies

Jan. 12, 2014 at 12:56 PM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Republican Rep. Steve Sutherland criticized President Barack Obama's Promise Zones initiative Sunday and said his policies are not helping the poor.

Obama unveiled the first five zones across the county Thursday to increase economic development in high poverty areas throughout the country.

But Sutherland said that Obama's address didn't include many details on how the improvement would be accomplished, and he criticized his policies.

"First of all, since this president took office, 6.7 million Americans have entered into poverty. We know that 45 percent of single mothers live in poverty," he said on "Fox News Sunday." "And so, therefore, why -- why we are trying to push more policies that add to those numbers that if you look at the facts, this administration, we can do better. We must do better."

In response, Democratic Congressman Chris Van Hollen, who was also on the show Sunday, noted Obama's progress and denounced Republicans' support for the cut of extended unemployment benefits.

"We can always do better, but it is also a fact that more than 8 million jobs have been created over the last 46 months. Isn't it enough? No. You still have three people looking for every job. So we should not be cutting off extended unemployment benefits."

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