The cause Lee believes will help build bridges among Republicans? Combating poverty.
But arguably none have been as committed to the cause in recent months as Lee, who declared a “war on poverty” last November.
Smith is even more scathing of another proposal contained in Lee’s bill: capping means-tested welfare spending at 2007 levels, a move the senator says will save $2.5tn. The reduction would be adjusted for inflation, phased in over three years, and only come into force when unemployment is below 6%.
But it still constitutes a dramatic reduction on government money spent on the poor – distorting a budget that ordinarily rises and falls depending on the performance of the economy. “It doesn’t make sense,” Smith said. “It can only hurt the most vulnerable people.”
It's not a war on poverty. It's a war on the poor.