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Hunger and the Ryan Budget

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. RYAN of Ohio. I thank the gentlelady, and I'm glad I have the opportunity to follow the gentlelady from Cleveland because my district is just south of her district.

As you can see from the map of Ohio, there is severe poverty and food insecurity in the northeastern part of Ohio, but all the way down, as you can see, all the way into the south. And the SNAP program is one program that we're highlighting here tonight.

But I think it's important for us to recognize how this fits into the context of an overall budget that also cuts the Medicaid program by a third. Think about the stress, A, regarding the SNAP program if you're utilizing it. What is that family going to do if a third of the Medicaid budget is cut and early childhood is cut and Pell Grants are cut and student loan rates go up and all the way down the line? We're talking about putting a huge squeeze on the poorest people in our society when we only have 300 million or 400 million people and we're trying to compete with 1.4 billion people in China and 1.3 billion or 1.4 billion people in India. How are we going to be a competitive country? That's the question that we have to ask here if you can't even get enough food in a kid's belly before they go to school.

We need to look at this in the context of what are the investments we need to make in order to be a successful country, period. We've heard a lot of amazing stories here tonight, heart-wrenching stories of people who ended up being Members of Congress because of some of these programs. Who is the next generation of leadership? Are we going to invest in them, or are we going to say, You're on your own?

We have now on the other side, Mr. Speaker, the nominee of a major political party in the United States of America saying: ``I'm not concerned about the poor,'' and making light of us asking people with the Buffett rule to maybe pay a little bit more. You know what? They say, oh, that's not that much money. It's only 11 hours of government spending and blah, blah, blah. You know what? That Buffett rule can help put food in people's bellies. For the 175,000 people in my congressional district in northeast Ohio that are living in poverty, that Buffett rule would help pay for the SNAP program. Is it insignificant now?


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