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Congressman Gene Green

Representing the 29th District of Texas

On the 50th Anniversary of the War on Poverty

January 8, 2014
Speech

Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize the success and the legacy of the War on Poverty.

The War on Poverty, proposed 50 years ago today in this chamber by then-President and fellow Texan, Lyndon Johnson, paved the way towards the enactment of many of our nation’s most popular and significant federal programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, and Head Start.

These programs, along with Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, and now, the Affordable Care Act, form America’s social safety net, which has protected millions of our nation’s children, working adults, and elderly from falling into poverty.

Less than 2 weeks ago, due to the inaction of this House, 1.3 million Americans, including 65,000 Texans, saw their unemployment insurance disappear. This number will grow to over 3 million in the coming months if action is not taken. This vital lifeline is essential for the millions of our fellow Americans who are out of work and struggling to make ends meet.

The 50th Anniversary of President Johnson’s speech is the perfect opportunity for Congress to show its support of those less fortunate and I call on this chamber to bring legislation to renew emergency unemployment today.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I reserve the balance of my time.