Friday, January 10, 2014

Congressional Black Caucus Chairperson Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge of Ohio calls America's 'War on Poverty' a 'war on the poor,' she takes on House Speaker John Boehner, also of Ohio, for pushing cuts to programs to the poor on 50th anniversary of the 'War on Poverty'

U.S. Representative Marcia L. Fudge (D-Ohio), a Warrensville Heights Democrat whose largely Black 11th congressional district includes parts of the cities of Cleveland and Akron, Ohio, and suburban parts of Cuyahoga and Summit counties. Rep. Fudge is also chair of the Congressional Black Caucus of Blacks in Congress

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), a Republican whose eighth congressional district includes suburban areas of Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio
By Kathy Wray Coleman,  Editor-in-Chief,
Cleveland Urban News. Com and The Cleveland Urban News.Com Blog,
Ohio's Most Read Online Black Newspaper and Newspaper Blog 
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Kathy Wray Coleman is  a community activist and 20 year investigative journalist
 who trained for 17 years at the Call and Post Newspaper, Ohio's Black press with 
print newspapers in Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio
WASHINGTON, D.C-Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH), a Warrensville Heights Democrat whose majority Black 11th congressional district includes parts of the cities of Cleveland and Akron, Ohio and suburban parts of both Cuyahoga and Summit counties, and who also leads the Congressional Black Caucus of Black in Congress, told Cleveland Urban News.Com Thursday evening that America's 'War on Poverty' has become a war on the country's poor.

The federal lawmaker's comments come on the heels of the 50th anniversary of the unofficial war on poverty, which was January 8, and growing concerns that Congress is turning back the clock on Civil Rights gains to the Black community and others with cuts to federal programs impacting the poor, including food stamps, social security, medicaid, and unemployment benefits.

"Here we are today, 50 years later, and too many Americans are still living on the 'outskirts of hope' because the war on poverty 
has now become a 'war on the poor,' said Fudge in a press release to Cleveland Urban News.Com, Ohio's most read digital Black newspaper and one of the most read online Black news venues in the country.

The 'War on Poverty' is the unofficial name for federal legislation pushed by President Lyndon B. Johnson that became law through Congress in 1964 and is officially known as the Economic Opportunity Act, which established federal funds targeted against poverty.

The poverty rate for all African Americans harbors at 28 percent, which increased from 25 percent in 2005, according to U.S. census reports. Black families with children under 18 headed by a single mother have the highest rate of poverty at 48 percent compared to only eight percent of married-couple Black families, data show.

Fudge delivered remarks yesterday on the floor of Congress to mark the anniversary of America's fight to eradicate poverty and she directed her comments to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), whose eighth congressional district, like Fudge's 11th district, is among Ohio's 16 congressional districts. Boehner's congressional district includes suburban areas of Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio.

But unlike Fudge, a Black Democrat, Boehner is a conservative Republican leading efforts to cut federally funded programs for the poor and middle class, and it annoys Fudge, whose constituents are for the most part middle class and poor, but mainly poor.

"Mr. Speaker, today I rise to commemorate the 50th 
anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty," said Fudge. "In 1964, President Johnson stood in this Chamber and addressed a Congress that represented a nation where more than 25 percent of Americans lived in poverty and in  his address, President Johnson launched an agenda that led to the creation of medicare, medicaid, job corp, head start and nutrition and assistance for those who struggle to put food on the table."  Click here to read a copy of Rep. Fudge’s remarks as delivered:

Fudge said that Johnson's war helped Americans out of poverty and that Congress is working diligently to undermine his efforts.

"In the last year alone, Congress has agreed to indiscriminate across the board cuts known as sequestration in an effort to balance the budget, and the House passed a farm bill that cut SNAP by $40 billion," Fudge told her congressional colleagues. "Sequestration hurts the very people who need help the most by greatly reducing critical funding to programs like WIC and Head Start."

SNAP kept 4.9 million Americans out of poverty in 2012 alone, including 2.2 million children, the congresswoman said.

"Congress has also chosen not to extend unemployment 
insurance," said Fudge " Even though our country continues to lift itself out of the recession, many Americans still need our support and turning your back on the 1.4 million Americans who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own is unconscionable."

Fudge pledged to continue to be a voice for the poor and to further the fight on behalf of the 46 million Americans trying to survive in households with inadequate incomes. She called on Congress to " reinforce the plans of President Johnson that would ensure all Americans can support themselves and their families, and have better chances to contribute to our economy and our society." 

The congresswoman concluded her speech by paraphrasing the late Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., a Civil Rights icon who fought for the Economic Opportunity Act and public policy changes impacting the Black community and the poor during the height of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.

"To paraphrase Dr. King, he said we have an obligation to 'those 
who have been left out of the sunlight of opportunity," said Fudge."I yield back Mr. Speaker."
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