Beto O`Rourke on Welfare & Poverty
Democratic candidate for President; Texas Senator nominee
Pushed "El Paso renaissance": Walmart replaces poor housing
In 2005, O'Rourke won his race for city council, advocating for tax abatements to spur development. Overnight, O'Rourke became the bright, optimistic new face of the El Paso renaissance, and he supported a real-estate-redevelopment plan, envisioning a
gentrified downtown that could attract more people like Beto O'Rourke. The development plans were met with passionate opposition because the developer, [who was Beto's father-in-law], wanted to use eminent domain to clear out an impoverished barrio and
build a Walmart or a Target.
O'Rourke, fluent in Spanish like his father, went door-to-door trying to convince residents the city would build affordable housing elsewhere.
Opponents pointed out that his father-in-law stood to profit from the plans.
The city opened an ethics investigation, and though O'Rourke was cleared of wrongdoing, he recused himself in the public debate and from voting on it. In the end, the plans collapsed because the economy cratered in 2008 and capital dried up.
Source: Joe Hagan in Vanity Fair on 2020 Democratic primary
, Mar 13, 2019
Voted NO on maintaining work requirement for welfare recipients.
- Prohibits any experimental pilot or demonstration project that: waives compliance with mandatory work requirements
- Rescinds and nullifies any such waiver granted before the enactment of this Act.
Proponent's Argument for voting Yes:
Rep. REICHERT: Congress must ensure that work continues to be the centerpiece of the TANF welfare program. We are here today debating the Obama administration's efforts to undermine work requirements. Bipartisan discussions were actually happening before the Obama administration announced they would waive work requirements for welfare recipients last summer. That announcement completely undermined bipartisan negotiations in our committee about ways to strengthen this program. Usually, if an administration wants to change the law, they must submit a legislative proposal for Congress to consider, but that's not what the Obama administration did with its proposal to waive the TANF work
Opponent's Argument for voting No:
- Rep. LEVIN: Last summer the administration proposed that states would be allowed to apply for waivers and have some flexibility in terms of the application of the work requirements--not the end of them or changing them, but the implementation of them. The idea that the administration is going to try to overturn welfare reform is ridiculous. States have to apply individually for waivers, and they have to explain in detail why the approach would lead to either more employment or better jobs for people who are trying to stay off welfare.
- Rep. NEAL: I chaired the Democratic position [on 1990s welfare reform]. One of the goals of welfare reform was to move unemployed Americans from welfare to work, and it did work. The legislation has been very successful in meeting that goal. Welfare reform put people back on the work rolls. Welfare rolls have dropped by half, & poverty amongst children has dropped as well.
Reference: Preserving the Welfare Work Requirement & TANF Extension Act;
; vote number 13-HV068
on Mar 13, 2013
Sponsored maintaining SNAP nutrition assistance program.
O`Rourke co-sponsored House Resolution on SNAP
- WHEREAS hunger is a serious threat to individual dignity, productivity, learning, economic prosperity, health, and development;
- WHEREAS food insecurity means that people face an ongoing struggle against hunger;
- WHEREAS 50.1 million people lived in food insecure households in 2011;
- WHEREAS the supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP), established in the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, is the nation's first line of defense against hunger and food insecurity;
- WHEREAS SNAP served more than 47.5 million individuals in October 2012;
- WHEREAS the SNAP benefits average less than $1.50 per individual per meal;
- WHEREAS SNAP participation rises when the economy is weak;
- WHEREAS millions of Americans need to turn to SNAP as a way to feed themselves and their families;
Whereas SNAP is an efficient public-private partnership that runs on the regular channels of commerce--regular retail food stores and electronic benefit transfer (EBT) systems;
- WHEREAS every dollar in new SNAP benefits generates up to $1.79 in economi
Source: H.RES.90 13-HRes90 on Feb 28, 2013
Page last updated: Dec 15, 2019