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Congressman Gus Bilirakis

Representing the 12th District of Florida

Empowering People With Jobs

August 26, 2016
Bilirakis Blog

America is the land of opportunity. Yet after decades of programs in which trillions of dollars have been spent, some people are still stuck in the cycle of poverty. In order to fix the problem, we need to think differently. I am working to help Americans pursue the careers they want and contribute to our thriving nation. I am working to help people get back on their feet.

I support a plan that will ensure families are able to plan and save for the future, poor children have opportunities to succeed, and our system is collaborative and accountable. I have been working on legislation to bring more jobs for individuals in our local communities and across the nation.

We must reward work…
First, we must encourage and incentivize work. Those who are able to hold jobs, should be expected to work. Eighty nine percent of Americans believe that welfare should be tied to work. I have worked on legislation to require proof of employment for Medicaid beneficiaries who are capable. We must encourage individuals to seek jobs rather than seek government help. Jobs empower people.

I have worked on legislation to create more jobs and help get more people onto the ladder of opportunity. My bill to reauthorize BRAND USA, which is now law, has helped and will continue to help create jobs. Tourism is a big part of our local and national economies. By reauthorizing Brand USA – which helps promote travel and tourism in our nation, we can create more work opportunities both on a local and national level. Millions of Americans across the country are still struggling, and Brand USA reauthorization is a jobs bill with a proven track record of success.

We must provide options…
We should aim to tailor benefits to individual needs. Each citizen below the poverty line has a different story, and we must find different ways to help each and every one of them get back on their feet. We must reform Supplemental Security Income to focus on needed services. Access to needed services in lieu of cash assistance, whether it be mental or physical therapies, or special-education services in school should be the main focus. One size does not fit all, and I continue working to cut wasteful spending and inefficient programs so that we can focus on what really works.

We must improve skills and schools…
We must ensure Americans have more opportunities to succeed at every stage of life. I continue advocating for improving our schools and skills training programs to help Americans get ahead. Our economy grows when we have capable, hardworking Americans in jobs of all kinds. I am specifically working to improve education and work opportunities for our Veterans. My bill, the Veterans Education Survey Act, would study the effectiveness of educational assistance programs for Veterans administered by the Veterans Affairs Department to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of Veterans’ GI benefits. Learning new skills, combined with the tools these Veterans have gained from their service, will further assist their transition to civilian life. Our Veterans, and all students and workers, deserve every opportunity to succeed and to help our economy grow.

We must plan ahead…
We must help Americans plan and save for the future. Federal regulations and rules can get in the way with retirement planning, and many times, people are not aware of tools available to help them plan and save. Every year, during local food drives in our community, I hear from struggling families on their failed efforts to save. The current system is keeping them in poverty, and we must do all we can to help these individuals and families manage their money and budget better.  

We must demand results…
Finally, we must hold our government and our welfare programs accountable. We must all work together to find real, meaningful solutions. We must study and measure the results determining what is working and build upon real solutions. The federal government often defines success by the number of people enrolled in welfare programs or amount spent, but this does not show the number of people who got back on their feet.  The success of our welfare system should be judged by results. I continue working to hold our administration accountable and to help empower people with jobs and financial independence.

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