Pelosi slated to deliver remarks during panel hearing on poverty

Pelosi slated to deliver remarks during panel hearing on poverty
© Greg Nash

House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPence says it's 'vital' for Congress to pass US-Mexico-Canada trade deal The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump heads to California Obama, Bush among those paying tribute to Cokie Roberts: 'A trailblazing figure' MORE (D-Calif.) is slated to give the opening remarks during the House Budget Committee’s hearing on poverty on Wednesday.

The California Democrat will make the rare appearance before the committee after Chairman John YarmuthJohn Allen YarmuthMcConnell accepts Democratic rep's challenge to 5 debates House Democrats blur lines on support for impeachment White House won't move forward with billions in foreign aid cuts MORE (D-Ky.) and Ranking Member Steve WomackStephen (Steve) Allen WomackLawmakers pay tribute to late Justice Stevens Rubio asks White House to delay B Pentagon contract over Amazon concerns   New CBO report fuels fight over minimum wage MORE's (R-Ark.) deliver their opening statements.

Witnesses at the hearing include six from the Poor People’s Campaign: Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, Callie Greer, Kenia Alcocer, Christopher Overfelt and Savannah Kinsey in addition to Pastor Latasha Fields of The Christian Home Educators’ Support System (CHESS) and Pastor David Mahan of Frontline Youth Communications.

Pelosi has long advocated for a hearing involving the Poor People’s Campaign, having sent a letter to former House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanThree-way clash set to dominate Democratic debate Krystal Ball touts Sanders odds in Texas Republicans pour cold water on Trump's term limit idea MORE (R-Wis.) last September, when Republicans held the majority, advocating for the group’s call for the House to hold a hearing on poverty.

While the hearing wasn’t called during the 115th Congress, Pelosi teamed up with members of her party in partnering with the group to hold a hearing with Democrats last year. After taking control of the lower chamber, the California Democrat has worked to ensure a full committee hearing would be held.

“Because we thought it was important, we put together in the fall, using our Steering and Policy Committee, a forum just of Democrats, but now that we have taken majority, you know, we don't have to do it in the basement anymore,” a senior Democratic aide told The Hill.

According to the committee, the hearing is aimed at examining poverty in the United States and the economic hardships Americans face.

“Wednesday’s hearing on poverty in America is a vital opportunity to shine a light on the hardships facing families in poverty through testimony from people who have experienced these challenges first-hand,” Budget Committee spokesman Sam Lau told The Hill in a statement.

“Chairman Yarmuth is honored to be joined by Speaker Pelosi, who has dedicated her career to helping children and families, for this important discussion with the Poor People’s Campaign.”

While Republicans said they feel addressing policies to help people climb out of poverty is important, some expressed concerns over the witness list, noting witnesses testifying on behalf of the Poor People’s Campaign have been critical of the Trump administration and a number of Republican lawmakers in the past and held a presidential forum for Democratic 2020 hopefuls on Monday.

“It will be interesting to see what they say and the points they hit on, but, I mean, this group had every Democratic presidential candidate this weekend,” one GOP lawmaker said.