WASHINGTON, D.C. (KDBC) — Some lawmakers in Washington marked the 50th anniversary of the "War on Poverty" by admonishing it. Republicans argue that the "Big Government" approach to poverty isn't working.
In general, Republicans lose the votes of those with low incomes. The G.O.P. is hoping to look more appealing to those voters by addressing poverty.
They're not giving up their ideals in the process.
Republicans are using the 50 year milestone of Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson's 'War on Poverty' to argue the anti-poverty plan, which created Medicare, Medicaid, and food stamps, has not fully worked.
"We have to focus on policies that help our economy create those jobs and policies that help people overcome the obstacles between them and those jobs. The war on poverty accomplished neither of these two things," said Republican Senator Marco Rubio.
Some El Pasoans say poverty programs can be abused.
"It helps a lot of people," said Ryan Peña. "I mean, it can benefit them and it can hurt people".
Perhaps money could be better spent on training and education.
"You know what? If they could learn a job or a trade, it's a lot better for them. It puts them a lot further in the future," Peña said.
Senator Marco Rubio, the potential GOP 2016 candidate wants to take that money from federal programs and give it to states.
A new White House Report says 49.7-million Americans still live below the poverty line, but also notes the poverty rate during L.B.J.'s time five decades ago was 26% and dropped to 16% in 2012.
"Work is not a penalty. I believe that work is a blessing, and I think that so many times we have individuals who are second, third, and fourth generation in poverty or government recipients of moneys and therefore they've never seen it," said Rep. Steve Southerland (R) Floriday.
A recent poll showed 80% of Americans are dissatisfied with how the federal government handles poverty.