Sherrod Brown on Welfare & Poverty
Democratic Sr Senator; previously Representative (OH-13)
We have millions of families today who have zero wealth
In America today--we don't talk about this too much, but it is time we did--we have the most unequal distribution of wealth and income in the industrialized world. I haven't heard too many people talk about that issue. Why not?
Our Republican colleagues want huge tax breaks for the richest people, but the reality is the top 1 percent already today owns more wealth than the bottom 90 percent. How much more do they want? When is enough enough? Do they want it all?
We already have millions of families today who have zero wealth. They owe more than they own. Millions of families have below zero wealth.
We are living in a situation where the top 1 percent owns more wealth than the bottom 90 percent. The top 1 percent owns more wealth than the bottom 90 percent. That is simply unacceptable.
Source: The Speech: A Historic Filibuster, by Bernie Sanders
, Dec 10, 2010
25 percent of our children are dependent on food stamps
This is something we must be absolutely ashamed about and have to address, instead of giving tax breaks to billionaires. Maybe we should appreciate the fact that about 25% of our children are dependent on food stamps. We should understand that in the
industrialized world, the United States has the highest rate of childhood poverty. Is this America? The United States today has over 20% of its kids living in poverty. In Finland, the number is about 2 or 3%; Norway, maybe 4%; Sweden, maybe 4.5%;
Switzerland, 6%. The United States, well over 20%. The Netherlands in second place: about 7%. This is the future of America.
This is the other half of the equation. What do my colleagues think happens when we have millions of kids living
in poverty? The result is, the highest rate of childhood poverty in the industrialized world, and then what we end up with is more people behind bars than any other country on Earth.
Source: The Speech: A Historic Filibuster, by Bernie Sanders
, Dec 10, 2010
Voted YES on instituting National Service as a new social invention.
Congressional Summary:Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education (GIVE) Act:
Adds to National and Community Service Act of 1990 (NCSA) purposes:
- providing year-round opportunities in service-learning;
- involving program participants in emergency and disaster preparedness, relief, and recovery;
- increasing service opportunities for retiring professionals;
- encouraging service by individuals age 55 or older and continued service by national service alumni;
- focusing national service on the areas of national need.
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Sen. BARBARA MIKULSKI (D, MD): [In developing national service over many years] we were not in the business of creating another new social program. What we were in the business of was creating a new social invention. What do I mean by that? In our country, we are known for our technological inventions. But also often overlooked, and sometimes undervalued, is our social inventions.
We created national service to let young people find opportunity to be of service and also to make an important contribution. But not all was rosy. In 2003, when I was the ranking member on the appropriations subcommittee funding national service, they created a debacle. One of their most colossal errors was that they enrolled over 20,000 volunteers and could not afford to pay for it. That is how sloppy they were in their accounting. I called them the "Enron of nonprofits."
And they worked on it. But all that is history. We are going to expand AmeriCorps activity into specialized corps. One, an education corps; another, a health futures corps; another, a veterans corps; and another called opportunity corps. These are not outside of AmeriCorps. They will be subsets because we find this is where compelling human need is and at the same time offers great opportunity for volunteers to do it.
Opponent's argument to vote No:No senators spoke against the amendment.
Reference: Serve America Act/GIVE Act;
Bill H.R. 1388
; vote number 2009-S115
on Mar 26, 2009
Voted YES on providing $70 million for Section 8 Housing vouchers.
Voting YES on this amendment would add $70 million to the Section 8 housing voucher program, funding an additional 10,000 affordable housing vouchers.
Proponents of the amendment say:
- This amendment would enable an additional 10,000 low-income families to afford safe, decent housing.
- To offset this increase, the amendment cuts a poorly managed computer upgrade program. The committee has been very ingenious in squirreling away money in different accounts and the bill would still provide $94 million in funds for IT projects.
- We have a choice: Do we want to help thousands of families obtain affordable housing, or do we think it is more important to have a somewhat faster computer upgrade in HUD?
- Our amendment does not seek to restore the amount to the amount that the President recommended, which is $144 million more than the committee recommends, it seeks merely to restore $70 million, or about half of what the difference is to what the President recommended.
- This is less than the bare
minimum of what is needed. We have hundreds of thousands of families on waiting lists, waiting up to 10 years for decent housing for Section 8 vouchers.
Reference: Department of Housing and Urban Development appropriations;
Bill HR 5576 Amendment 1015
; vote number 2006-267
on Jun 13, 2006
- The existing bill fully funds the renewal of Section 8 vouchers. Additional funds are simply not necessary.
- The cost of Section 8 vouchers are remaining constant and in some markets are actually decreasing. As such, this funding level will provide funds to restore vouchers that may have been lost in recent years.
- The proposed reduction will cause delays in critically needed efforts to modernize antiquated legacy computer systems.
Voted NO on promoting work and marriage among TANF recipients.
Welfare Reauthorization Bill: Vote to pass a bill that would approve $16.5 billion to renew the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant program through fiscal 2008 and call for new welfare aid conditions. The bill raises the work requirements for individuals getting assistance from 30 to 40 hours per week. States would be required to increase the number of recipient families working from the current level of 50 percent to 70 percent or more in 2008. The bill also provides an additional $1 billion in mandatory state child care grants and provides $200 million annually for marriage promotion programs.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Pryce, R-OH;
Bill HR 4
; vote number 2003-30
on Feb 13, 2003
Voted NO on treating religious organizations equally for tax breaks.
Vote to pass a bill that would allow religious organizations to compete equally with other non-governmental groups for federal funds to provide social service, and provide $13.3 billion in tax breaks for charitable giving over 10 years.
Bill HR 7
; vote number 2001-254
on Jul 19, 2001
Voted YES on responsible fatherhood via faith-based organizations.
Vote to establish a program that would promote more responsible fatherhood by creating educational, economic and employment opportunities and give grants to state agencies and nonprofit groups, including faith-based institutions.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Johnson, R-CT.;
Bill HR 3073
; vote number 1999-586
on Nov 10, 1999
Increase the earned income tax credit.
Brown co-sponsored increasing the earned income tax credit
Provisions Relating to Earned Income Credit: Amends the Internal Revenue Code to repeal the supplemental young child credit and revise and increase the earned income credit.
Source: Tax Simplification Act (H.R.13) 1993-H13 on Jan 5, 1993
Reduce the concentration of wealth & wage inequality.
Brown adopted the Progressive Caucus Position Paper:
Economic inequality is the result of two and a half decades of government policies and rules governing the economy being tilted in favor of large asset owners at the expense of wage earners. Tax policy, trade policy, monetary policy, government regulations and other rules have reflected this pro-investor bias. We propose the introduction or reintroduction of a package of legislative initiatives that will close America’s economic divide and address both income and wealth disparities.
The Progressive Caucus could take the lead in the formation of a national leadership steering committee to put this dramatic issue before the public through coordinated media campaigns and local education and action forums. The political program should be concerned with: After a decade of economic prosperity, the moral question remains: if we can’t address the persistent economic divide in our nation today, when can we?
Source: CPC Position Paper: Income Inequality 99-CPC3 on Nov 11, 1999
- Reducing wage inequality: We are proposing initiatives to both raise the minimum wage floor and prevent the tax code from subsidizing excessive compensation.
- Asset-building initiatives:
The government has historically given land to citizens. Unfortunately, the programs were discriminatory toward people of color and kept a whole generation of people off the asset-building train. We are proposing a universal asset building approach that will dramatically reduce the number of “asset less” households and reduce the disparity of wealth for all Americans.
- Addressing the over concentration of wealth and power: The concentration of wealth is a problem because it distorts our democracy, destabilizes the economy and erodes our at our social and cultural fabric. Too much concentrated wealth leads to too much concentrated power and begins to undermine our participatory democracy.
Page last updated: Jan 10, 2019