Al Franken on Welfare & Poverty

DFL Jr Senator (MN)


Pay in full for school lunches instead of partly subsidizing

Congress last month passed a bill that cuts food assistance funding--but Sen. Al Franken is nevertheless trying to extend federal funding for students to receive hot school lunches.

Franken on Monday ate lunch with the kindergartners at Meadow Lake Elementary School in Brooklyn Park, to bring attention to the significance of subsidized lunches. Nearly 8 in 10 students at Meadow Lake come from lower-income families who qualify for free or reduced lunches. "Kids who haven't eaten at lunch don't do as well in school. This is wrong," Franken said.

Under the current rules, children from families with incomes below $30,615 for a family of 4 are eligible for free meals; those with incomes below $43,568 for a family of 4 are eligible for reduced-price meals.

Franken is re-introducing legislation, the Expand School Meals Act, to pay the rest of the cost for those students who only qualify for the reduced-price meals. The senator introduced the legislation in 2009 and 2010, but it went nowhere.

Source: CBS News on 2014 Minnesota Senate race , Mar 18, 2014

Guarantee the retirement benefits our workers have earned

Companies with defined benefit pension plans should be required to fund those plans fully. And if they go bankrupt, they should be forced to meet their obligations to those plans with their first available dollars.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.AlFranken.com, “Issues” , May 14, 2008

The economy--and its effect on poverty--are moral issues

I know. You think Bush won on "moral values." That myth came from one terribly designed exit poll, in which 22% of respondents looked at a list of "issues" and chose "moral values" as the most important one. And 80% of these people voted for Bush. For the next month, we were subjected to Republican talking heads crowing about how Democrats were "out of touch" on the "moral values issue."

There were any number of problems with the "moral values issue" issue. For starters: To me and apparently to some other people, the economy is a moral issue. During the 1st 3 years of Bush's presidency, 4.3 million Americans--including a million-plus children--fell into poverty. I, for one, don't blame the kids. Yet of the 20% of the voters in this exit poll who said "economy/jobs" was the most important issue, 0% were considered "moral values" voters. And 80% of them voted for Kerry.

Ditto for Iraq, health care, and education.

Source: The Truth (with jokes), by Al Franken, p. 31-32 , Oct 25, 2005

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