Joe Biden on Welfare & Poverty
Vice President; previously Democratic Senator (DE)
"Middle class means you get to own your home. It means you get to send your kid to a decent school, that if they do well and they want to go to college, you can afford to send them to college. It means being able to take care of your parents if they get sick. It means maybe being able to save enough so you hope your kids never have to take care of you."
The vice president responded to "pollsters" who he said claim the middle class no longer cares about owning a home or sending their kids to college: "The American people have not stopped dreaming. The American people have not walked away from what they believe they are entitled to. Just give them a chance--no handout, just give them a chance," Biden said. "Once you give Americans a chance they have never, never, never, never ever let their country down."
Folks, that's not how we look at it. Americans have never looked at it that way. These men and women aren't looking for a handout. They're just looking for a chance to acquire the tools and the skills to provide for their families--so they can hold their heads high and lead independent lives with dignity.
The choice is stark. Two different visions. Two different value sets. And at its core, the difference is, we have incredible faith in the decency, and the hard work of the American people. And we know what has made this country great--its people.
To: President George W. Bush
Dear President Bush:
We write to express our strong support for AmeriCorps and recognize the leadership you have shown on this issue over the years. We know you agree that AmeriCorps is an outstanding program which has proven successful in addressing our homeland security needs, leveraging volunteers, and improving the quality of services available to a broad range of Americans.
Unfortunately, as you know, the Corporation for National Service officially announced yesterday unprecedented and drastic funding cuts, from 50 to 95 percent in every state. These cuts mean that under the State Competitive funding stream the Corporation will only fund 2,036 volunteers, compared with 11,236 last year. Many states will see their volunteer allocations under the competitive stream drop by as much as 90 percent and 16 states are shut out completely.
In your 2002 State of the Union address, you called for every American to dedicate 4,000 hours to community service throughout their lives. In your 2004 budget request, you proposed increasing the number of AmeriCorps volunteers from 50,000 to 75,000. Unfortunately, due to serious errors made by the Corporation, fewer than half this number of Americans will be allowed to serve their country through service.
We should support, not oppose, efforts to encourage more Americans to enter public service. We should do everything in our power to reward the American men and women who have chosen to serve the country and their communities in the hope of meeting the nation's critical education, safety, health, and homeland security needs.
We urge you to request additional funding in the supplemental appropriations bill to ensure that AmeriCorps remains a strong and vital program today and in the future.
A BILL to require the President to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to further the United States foreign policy objective of promoting the reduction of global poverty, the elimination of extreme global poverty, and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal of reducing by one-half the proportion of people worldwide, between 1990 and 2015, who live on less than $1 per day.
REQUIREMENT TO DEVELOP COMPREHENSIVE STRATEGY: The US Government shall develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to further the US foreign policy objective of promoting the reduction of global poverty, the elimination of extreme global poverty, and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal of reducing by 1/2 the proportion of people worldwide who live on less than $1 per day. The strategy shall include specific and measurable goals, efforts to be undertaken, benchmarks, and timetables to achieve the objectives.
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