10-20-30, Black Caucus May Have Finally Found Partner on Poverty: Paul Ryan

10-20-30, Black Caucus May Have Finally Found Partner on Poverty: Paul Ryan


After years of talk in meetings on panels and with various federal officials, the Congressional Black Caucus may have finally found a partner who cares about the issues of poverty: Speaker Paul Ryan.  Ryan is bringing up the issue of poverty with other House leaders. 

At the Black Caucus’ weekly meeting last Wednesday, Speaker Ryan was a featured guest and how to deal with poverty came up, again. After the meeting with about 25 Black Caucus members including Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and the CBC’s only Republican Mia Love (R-UT) , Ryan stood in the hall for a few minutes talking to Black Caucus Chair G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) as he departed the 35 minute session in Longworth.  

The subject of poverty, and 10-20-30 specifically, has been talked about many times before as Reps. Lee and Jim Clyburn (D-SC) have pushed the “10-20-30” poverty plan.  That plan would commit 10 percent of federal resources to 20 percent of the population that has lived below the poverty line for the past 30 years or more.  Such a plan would target mostly white counties in America, many of them in GOP congressional districts. 

The issue of persistent poverty in America has mostly been off the table and unspoken of by President Obama over seven years.  The U.S. now has over 45 million people in poverty.  Twenty eight percent of African Americans including 38 percent of Black children now live in poverty in the U.S.  But “poverty” has been a word rarely heard from the White House.  Ignoring the problem for seven years hasn’t improved things.   The poverty rate for African Americans went from 25 percent to 27 percent during Obama’s time in the White House.

Reps. Lee and Clyburn have raised the issue over the last six years with not much traction.  But a new Speaker of the House who has tried in the past to focus substantively on the issue may change things.  A rural version of 10-20-30 was included in the 2009 stimulus and 4,655 projects in persistent poverty counties were funded as a result.

Back in 2014, Clyburn testified in front of the House Budget Committee saying, “there are currently 488 persistent poverty counties in America—so defined because 20 percent of the population has lived below the poverty line for the past 30 years or more.  They are diverse, including Appalachian communities in states like Kentucky and West Virginia, Native American communities in states like Alaska and South Dakota, Latino communities in states like Arizona and Texas, African American communities in states like South Carolina, Mississippi, and Alabama.”

One of those poorest communities is that of Kentucky’s 5th congressional district.  Congressman Hal Rogers, who is Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, has presided over the district for over two decades.  Kentucky’s 5th district is the second poorest in America, it is also the whitest (98 percent) congressional districts in the U.S.


  1. If the Congressional Black Caucus thinks Paul Ryan is truly concern about the poor, then the CBC is
    either delusional or CBC is playing the same game President Obama plays, and that is giving a few
    pictures for the media, making a few good speeches, and then doing absolutely nothing. Paul Ryan
    budget in 2014 would have cut Pell grants for college students by 125 billion for the next 10 years,
    SNAP (federal food aid programs) would have been slashed by 135 billion dollars.Paul Ryan stated
    he would not “give up his family to fulfill the scheduling obligation go out going Speaker Boehner,
    he must be able to take time for his family leave. Ryan has no problem asking for family leave for him, and only him. The needs for the millions of American family is not his concern.This hypocrite
    has as much concern about the poor as him offering a person stranded in the ocean a glass of salt
    water. The web site Intercept has a brilliant article by Lee Fang( 11Feb 16) with the title “Hillary
    Clinton ‘s Congressional Black Caucus Pac Endorsement Approved b a Board awash in Lobbyist”.
    It provide the information and serious problems that corporation have made in Congress and shows
    how its members have plenty of bark but no bite to the serious problems of poverty, jobs, healthcare,
    and how it effects American families.The CBC is feeding from the same money trough that the rest of
    Congresses eating from.The two party failure (Republican & Democratic) have been on display for
    decades to the American public and they have come to realize it is serving the wealthy,corporations and other politician.