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Rubio pushing reform agenda to tackle poverty

Wednesday - 1/8/2014, 10:44pm  ET

In this Jan. 8, 2014, photo, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a Cuban-American, speaks about the "American dream" on the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson’s first State of the Union address in 1964, where LBJ committed the government to a war on poverty, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Rubio’s speech was hosted by the conservative American Enterprise Institute. Dealing with an empathy gap, Republicans are trying to forge a new image before the 2014 midterm elections as a party that helps the poor and lifts struggling workers into the middle class. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

KEN THOMAS
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sen. Marco Rubio says the nation needs a new reform agenda to help the poorest Americans find work and help their families climb out of poverty.

The Florida Republican says in a speech Wednesday that money from the federal government to address poverty should be shifted to the states and Congress should reform the tax code to give people in low-wage jobs an incentive to stay in the workforce and not collect unemployment insurance.

The potential 2016 presidential candidate says a "big government approach" launched by President Lyndon B. Johnson's "War on Poverty" 50 years ago has failed to help enough Americans trapped by poverty.

Rubio says raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour may be popular with many Americans but that it won't help people emerge from poverty.


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