Mel Martinez on Welfare & Poverty

Republican Jr Senator (FL); previously Secretary of H.U.D.

A buck an hour is not going to bring someone out of poverty

I believe that the minimum wage increase would be illusory and frankly would not help people. A buck an hour is not going to bring someone out of poverty. Those people just cannot support a family on those meager wages whether or not another dollar is added to it.
Source: Florida Senate Debate, in St. Petersburg Times Oct 19, 2004

HUD worked through religious organizations

As Secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, I was in charge of housing assistance for low-income families. I was proud to support these programs as well as direct federal poverty aid through religious, community-based and other non-profit organizations.
Source: 2004 Congressional National Political Awareness Test Oct 14, 2004

Led an initiative to help minorities to buy homes

As HUD Secretary, I led an initiative to make it easier for more minority families to buy homes. Under my leadership, for the first time ever, a majority of minority households in the nation are now homeowners.
Source: Campaign website, melforsenate.org Mar 24, 2004

More spending on homeownership & mutifamily loans

In this administration’s first 100 days, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez kept his promise to focus on home ownership while also bringing sound management to the agency. “During my confirmation hearing, I outlined my plans to promote home ownership and to make HUD work better for our communities,” said Martinez. “I am confident our track record over the past 100 days reflects our sincere commitment to do just that.”

In only a little over 3 months, Martinez proposed a 6.8% budget increase that will expand homeownership opportunities and for the first time in nine years, he raised multifamily loan limits by 25%, to spur construction.

Martinez has also been extremely responsive to the nation’s immediate needs, earmarking $105 million to help pay skyrocketing utility bills for public housing residents and expediting federal assistance to communities in Washington State following the devastating earthquake in March.

Source: Press Release Apr 27, 2001

Supports faith-based charities based on personal history

HUD Secretary Mel Martinez today joined President Bush in honoring Catholic organizations for their work in helping low-income families, the homeless, the elderly and people living with AIDS. Today’s ceremony is part of President Bush’s effort to expand support for faith-based groups around the country.

Secretary Martinez’s personal involvement in Catholic faith-based social service agencies began nearly 40 years ago, when the Miami Catholic Welfare Bureau helped [arrange a foster home and his immigration from Cuba to America]. “Had it not been for the work of Catholic charities, I wouldn’t be here today,” said Secretary Martinez. “Kind-hearted people welcomed me to this country, gave me a home and helped me begin my own American dream.”

“I know from personal experience what faith-based groups can do,” said Martinez. “President Bush is right to reach out to the faith community who have an established track record doing the kind of work that changes lives.”

Source: HUD press release, “Faith-Based” Jan 31, 2001

Voted YES on instituting National Service as a new social invention.

Congressional Summary:Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education (GIVE) Act:
    Adds to National and Community Service Act of 1990 (NCSA) purposes:
  1. providing year-round opportunities in service-learning;
  2. involving program participants in emergency and disaster preparedness, relief, and recovery;
  3. increasing service opportunities for retiring professionals;
  4. encouraging service by individuals age 55 or older and continued service by national service alumni;
  5. focusing national service on the areas of national need.

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Sen. BARBARA MIKULSKI (D, MD): [In developing national service over many years] we were not in the business of creating another new social program. What we were in the business of was creating a new social invention. What do I mean by that? In our country, we are known for our technological inventions. But also often overlooked, and sometimes undervalued, is our social inventions.

We created national service to let young people find opportunity to be of service and also to make an important contribution. But not all was rosy. In 2003, when I was the ranking member on the appropriations subcommittee funding national service, they created a debacle. One of their most colossal errors was that they enrolled over 20,000 volunteers and could not afford to pay for it. That is how sloppy they were in their accounting. I called them the "Enron of nonprofits."

And they worked on it. But all that is history. We are going to expand AmeriCorps activity into specialized corps. One, an education corps; another, a health futures corps; another, a veterans corps; and another called opportunity corps. These are not outside of AmeriCorps. They will be subsets because we find this is where compelling human need is and at the same time offers great opportunity for volunteers to do it.

Opponent's argument to vote No:No senators spoke against the amendment.

Reference: Serve America Act/GIVE Act; Bill H.R. 1388 ; vote number 2009-S115 on Mar 26, 2009

Other candidates on Welfare & Poverty: Mel Martinez on other issues:
FL Gubernatorial:
Charlie Crist
FL Senatorial:
Bill Nelson
George LeMieux

Newly elected in 2008 & seated in 2009:
AK:Begich (D)
CO:Udall (D)
ID:Risch (R)
MN:Franken (D)
NC:Hagan (D)
NE:Johanns (R)
NH:Shaheen (D)
NM:Udall (D)
OR:Merkley (D)
VA:Warner (D)

Newly appointed in 2009;
special election in 2010:

DE:Kaufman (D)
CO:Bennet (D)
IL:Burris (D)
NY:Gillibrand (D)

Announced retirement as of 2010:
DE:Kaufman (D)
FL:Martinez (R)
KS:Brownback (R)
MO:Bond (R)
OH:Voinovich (R)

Up for 6-year term in 2010:
(13 Democrats; 15 Republicans)
AK:Murkowski (R)
AL:Shelby (R)
AR:Lincoln (D)
AZ:McCain (R)
CA:Boxer (D)
CT:Dodd (D)
GA:Isakson (R)
HI:Inouye (D)
IA:Grassley (R)
ID:Crapo (R)
IN:Bayh (D)
KY:Bunning (R)
LA:Vitter (R)
MD:Mikulski (D)
NC:Burr (R)
ND:Dorgan (D)
NH:Gregg (R)
NV:Reid (D)
NY:Schumer (D)
OK:Coburn (R)
OR:Wyden (D)
PA:Specter (R)
SC:DeMint (R)
SD:Thune (R)
UT:Bennett (R)
VT:Leahy (D)
WA:Murray (D)
WI:Feingold (D)
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Page last updated: Nov 22, 2009