Sen. Marco Rubio: Continue federal funding of anti-poverty programs

Jan. 12, 2014 at 3:18 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said Sunday that though control of anti-poverty programs should be shifted to the states, they shouldn't lose federal funding.

Rubio took to the Lyndon Johnson Room in the Senate Wednesday to declare the War on Poverty a failure on the 50th anniversary of the program. He called for a shift in federal anti-poverty programs to the states, arguing that will provide more flexibility to show what actually works.

Johnson's programs showed the belief "that government spending is the central answer to healing the wounds of poverty" is not correct, Rubio said.

On Sunday, in an appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation," he further explained his position, saying he doesn't think states should be able to opt out of such programs.

"Under Obamacare, when you turn Medicaid over to the states what you're saying to them is the money will be available up front for the expansion for a few years, then the money will go away but you get stuck with the unfunded liability. I'm not saying we should do that," he said. "I'm actually saying that what we should do is take the existing federal funding that we use for some of these programs, and we're still working through which ones those should be, collapse them in to one central federal agency that would then transfer that money to fund innovative state programs that address the same issues. But it would be funded, it wouldn't be something where states are told you get the money for a few years then we'll back away. And it should be revenue neutral."

"So, I'm not saying we should dismantle the efforts, I'm saying that these efforts need to be reformed and I believe the best way to reform them is to turn the money and the influence over to the state and local level where I think you'll find the kinds of innovations that allow us to confront an issue that is complex, and quite frankly diverse. For example, rural poverty looks different than urban poverty. And there are different approaches to it," Rubio added.

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