Ryan calls out GOP in anti-poverty fight

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanDuncan Hunter pleads guilty after changing plea Trump campaign steps up attacks on Biden Trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see, and hardly a voice of caution to be heard MORE (R-Wis.) is calling out Republicans for not being “on the field enough” in the national fight against poverty in an online documentary series that will be released Thursday.

In one scene of the six-part Opportunity Lives series, titled “Comeback,” Ryan is shown sitting next to Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) at a recent anti-poverty meeting with African-American and other community leaders in Dallas.


“Eddie and I have known each other for a long time. We play on different teams, but we’ve got the same goals and one team, in my case, hasn’t been on the field enough lately,” Ryan tells the group.

“What I would love to see is a competition of ideas where we’re not just treating symptoms so we can tolerate something more like poverty, but actually breaking the back of poverty, hitting the root causes,” the Speaker continues. “What we learned is you can’t sit in some ivory tower in any big city and think you’ve got it all figured out. It’s really the people together.”

The documentary provides a behind-the-scenes look at some of Ryan’s years-long effort to combat poverty in many of America's grittiest inner cities. It's an approach that focuses on getting people back to work and out of food-stamp and other safety-net programs — what Ryan has called the “hammock” of dependency.

Poverty is also one of the six planks of Ryan’s “A Better Way” election-year policy agenda for House Republicans. But the platform has largely been overshadowed by brash and bombastic GOP presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpStates slashed 4,400 environmental agency jobs in past decade: study Biden hammers Trump over video of world leaders mocking him Iran building hidden arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq: report MORE’s no-holds-barred campaign.

The documentary series, too, is trying to cut through the noise of the unpredictable 2016 presidential election. Opportunity Lives, a conservative news site, will release the six episodes of the “Comeback” series Thursday, featuring poverty fighters in places such as Denver, Elyria, Ohio, Racine, Wis. It launched a first "season" with seven episodes last year.

South Carolina Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottSenate roundtable showcases importance and needs of women entrepreneurs Donald Trump does not understand manufacturing Senate approves stopgap bill to prevent shutdown MORE, the only black Republican in the upper chamber who recently gave a moving speech about his own experiences with police racial profiling, also appears in the series.

"Poverty in America isn’t going away,” Ryan said in a statement. “We may not read about it in the headlines every day, but it's still persistent across our country and we need to confront it head on.”

Opportunity Lives is run by Editor in Chief John Hart, who served as a top aide to former Sen. Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by PhRMA — Worries grow about political violence as midterms approach President Trump’s war on federal waste American patients face too many hurdles in regard to health-care access MORE (R-Okla.). The group is affiliated with the Kemp Forum, an anti-poverty summit that both Ryan and Scott hosted in South Carolina earlier this year. That event was sponsored by the Jack Kemp Foundation, the organization charged with carrying on the legacy of the late anti-poverty crusader, Rep. Jack Kemp (R-N.Y.), the one-time presidential candidate and Housing and Urban Affairs secretary who served as one of Ryan’s earliest political mentors.