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Republican leaders push for change

WASHINGTON – As Sen. Marco Rubio was unveiling his plan Wednesday for fighting poverty, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., delivered an address across town on the promise of charter schools to “break this vicious cycle of poverty.” He took aim at New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has been seen as a flag-bearer for Democrats’ increasingly populist tone, warning that the mayor’s proposed moratorium on new charter schools could “devastate the growth of education opportunity.”

The dueling events, and other recent moves by key party figures, suggest agreement on broad principles, but still no consensus about what specific policies Republicans should champion.

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, a leader of the party’s more libertarian wing, has visited economically depressed communities like Detroit and proposed what he calls “economic freedom zones” that would offer reduced tax rates. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, unveiled as part of his poverty agenda last fall a significant tax code overhaul that includes a $2,500-per-child tax credit.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, another potential GOP presidential hopeful, parted with many of his fellow Republicans on Wednesday by signing a Democratic-backed law that would allow immigrants in the state illegally to qualify for in-state tuition rates.

Today, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., architect of the party’s spartan budget plans, will address his own ideas for tackling poverty.


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