Support Grows for U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin’s Stronger Way Act

Bold legislation to fight poverty with real solutions garners support from leaders in Wisconsin and across the country

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin today announced growing support from local, state and national leaders for bold legislation she has introduced to fight poverty with real solutions. Senator Baldwin introduced the Stronger Way Act with Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) last month.

“Senator Baldwin’s Stronger Way Act creates a bold, work-based structure for dramatically reducing poverty in the United States and expanding the nation’s economy. This legislation creates exactly the kind of national transitional jobs program and increases in the EITC and Child Tax Credit that struggling workers and small businesses need. The evidence is powerful that it will drive down the poverty rate,” said David Riemer, Senior Fellow at Community Advocates Public Policy Institute. “And as our experience with transitional jobs in Wisconsin and other states makes clear, the Stronger Way Act will also help small businesses to createmore unsubsidized, private-sector jobs and thus bolster the American economy.”

In Milwaukee, local transitional jobs programs have seen progress in helping chronically underemployed and unemployed Wisconsinites find permanent employment. Similar transitional jobs programs exist on a limited scale across the country, but without dedicated and robust nationally available funding, these programs are limited in how many people they can reach and lives they can change. The Stronger Way Act will help states and local governments set up transitional jobs programs and help scale up existing programs, such as the programs in Milwaukee run by UMOS and the Milwaukee Urban League.

“UMOS is in full support of stronger efforts that help reduce poverty by giving the people of Wisconsin and everyone in this great nation the opportunity to get and keep family supporting employment,” said Lupe Martinez, President and Chief Executive Officer of UMOS. “We think the Stronger Way Act is one of those strong efforts.”

“I want to commend Senator Baldwin for her leadership on this important issue,” said Ralph Hollmon, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Milwaukee Urban League. “We know that having a job that pays a family supporting wage is one of the best ways to escape the vicious cycle of poverty. For many individuals who have difficulty finding employment, the transitional jobs program is their best hope of getting into the workforce and earning money in a positive, productive way.”

The Stronger Way Act takes on a national problem that is holding millions of Americans back and puts in place real solutions to create opportunity for all and reward hard work. By moving our unemployed into the workforce and advancing tax reforms that make work pay, the Stronger Way Act has garnered support from leading national voices in the fight against poverty.

“At Heartland Alliance, we believe that every person deserves the opportunity to work and support themselves and their families. We support the Stronger Way Act’s focus on creating pathways to work and opportunity for all through transitional jobs programs,” said Melissa Young, Director of Heartland Alliance’s National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity.

“The Stronger Way Act targets poverty through proven two-generational strategies to help both children and adults, by expanding the Child Tax Credit, expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit and making a national commitment to transitional employment for those who need work.  These are critical parts of a comprehensive anti-poverty package for low income working individuals and families,” said Olivia Golden, Executive Director of Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP). “The Stronger Way Act will bolster American families struggling to make ends meet and CLASP supports it.”

“I am eager for the U.S. Senate to consider the Stronger Way Act, introduced by Senators Baldwin and Booker,” said H. Luke Shaefer, PhD, Co-author of $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America. “I am deeply excited by the Act’s focus on increasing work opportunity and supporting low-income workers, and I look forward to a vigorous debate on a bold idea.”

“Strengthening tax credits for working families and providing dedicated funding for subsidized employment programs are core to any serious strategy for reducing poverty and expanding opportunity in America,” said Indivar Dutta-Gupta, Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality. “When we have proven and promising ideas to help people reach their potential—ideas ensuring that everyone who wants to work can have a decent job and a decent income—it is penny wise and pound foolish for the wealthiest nation in the world to continue to allow persistent poverty among children and families.”

Across the state of Wisconsin, support for the Stronger Way Act has grown with community leaders, faith-based non-profits, statewide advocacy organizations and Wisconsin researchers.

“We applaud Senator Baldwin’s commitment to ending poverty,” said Ken Taylor, Executive Director of Wisconsin Council on Children and Families. “Far too many children are living in poverty, making it much harder for them to succeed in life. The Stronger Way Act is a bold plan that will help more people in this country work and escape poverty—meaning more families will have the resources they need for their children to thrive.”

“This bill brings us one step closer to creating equity in this country. It is one more step towards creating the beloved community Dr. King spoke so eloquently about in which everyone in this country who wants one has a job,” said Rev. Willie Brisco, President of WISDOM and the Reclaim Our Communities Campaign.

“Project RETURN has seen first-hand the positive impact that employment has on an individual.  Transitional employment is a means to help those who have difficulty due to a lack of work experience or other blemishes on their record enter the work force and become productive members of our communities,” said Wendel Hruska, Executive Director of Project RETURN Milwaukee. “It is with this understanding that Project RETURN fully endorses the Stronger Way Act as a means to curb unemployment, provide opportunities that may be lacking in our communities, and get people back to work.”

“The new Stronger Way Act moves us in the right direction on jobs and earnings subsidies for low income workers, including single workers, and providing income to poor children whose parents work,” said Tim Smeeding, Lee Rainwater Distinguished Professor of Public Affairs and Economics at UW-Madison and former Director of the Institute for Research on Poverty at UW-Madison.

“Senators Baldwin and Booker have introduced the Stronger Way Act, which offers the promise of dignified work. Currently in Wisconsin, people are being forced into no-wage and low-wage jobs in order to maintain their food aid as part of the FoodShare Employment and Training Program. This program is failing to find people jobs, dropping them from FoodShare and making folks dependent upon food pantries, soup kitchens and homeless shelters to meet their most basic needs,” said Sherrie Tussler, Executive Director of Hunger Task Force. “The Stronger Way Act provides real solutions. We thank the Senators for understanding that we can reduce hunger and dependency when workers are able to buy food with real wages.”

Background on The Stronger Way Act is available here.

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