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Ryan: Conservatives Have 'Moral High Ground' in War on Poverty

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) speaks at the American Conservative Union's CPAC conference at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md., on March 3, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told the Conservative Political Action Conference today that conservatives have the “moral high ground” in the war on poverty.

“What we don’t all see in this country, right under our noses,” Ryan said, is “people successfully overcoming poverty and helping others do the same.”

Conservatives can and should “learn from that” as they “call into question the status quo of this war on poverty” and craft solutions in the private sector and at the level of regulatory reform.

Ryan stressed that the measurement of success needs to be “how many people are getting out of poverty.”

“We are saying the government in so many ways has been part of the problem,” he said, noting programs that “effectively tell people don’t work — they make it harder for people to work.”

Ryan’s mantra: “Today we have a safety net that catches people falling into poverty. What we needs is a safety net that lifts people out of poverty.”

The Speaker advocated letting localities “have more power to revive their communities” as lawmakers help “get government out of the way” and “remove these barriers” to success.

“We actually want to measure success by real success,” he added.

Ryan appointed committee chairmen to a Task Force on Reducing Regulatory Burdens, which released its mission statements this week to “make it easier to invest, produce and build in America with a modern and transparent regulatory system that relieves the burden on small businesses and other job creators and encourages financial independence, while balancing environmental stewardship, public safety, and consumer interests.”

He told CPAC that regulations “make it more difficult for people in poverty to get out of poverty” by hiking prices on everything from clothes to energy bills.

Ryan has spent the past few years traveling around America visiting with “leaders in the war on poverty.”

“We care about restoring the American idea — that the condition of your birth does not determine the outcome of your life,” he said.