They are people, not numbers

Since the various senate committees that investigate and oversee things are made up of both parties, the normal procedure is for both parties to suggest people who should appear as witnesses when there is a hearing.

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Obviously the majority party will make sure their witnesses get preference, but if the committee’s work is to be unbiased, the chair will make sure the pros and cons are represented, unless the committee chair only wants to produce a predetermined outcome.

At least that is how it normally is unless Darrel Issa is the chairman, or the chair is as reluctant as Paul Ryan was to allow the process to be fair and balanced.

It took Paul Ryan five times to finally allow an actual working poor person to testify at a hearing on the War on Poverty. That is five hearings since last summer, and finally someone who could speak from experience was allowed to be speak.

According to Ryan,

"We have had 50 years in the War on Poverty and the poverty rates haven't changed. We think we can do better than that and so we are learning from people who are on the front lines, like Catholic charities, who are succeeding in getting people into good lives and good jobs and we want to learn from them”.

"Experts: on poverty and organizations who work with the poor and the working poor are all well and good, but hearing from actual poor people seems like a no brainer. But it took five hearings to get that to happen. Not because there was no one willing to speak, but the chair just refused to have them speak.

At this latest hearing held this past week,Tianna Gaines-Turner, a member of Witnesses to Hunger, a group of men and women who have experienced poverty firsthand got to speak, and the most important part of her testimony was to point out that America’s poor and working poor are not numbers that can be spoken of in an impersonal way, but are real people.

Tianna worked hard to get out of homelessness and make a home for her children while dealing with their health issues.

She presented three ways to realistically get people out of poverty.

1) Providing a living wage and family-oriented labor policies.
2) Investment in safety nets that support economic mobility
3) Community solutions run by those who understand poverty firsthand.

 

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