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PolitiFact checks Sen. Marco Rubio's poverty stat


Fifty years ago, President Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty. Since then, says Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., taxpayers have spent $20 trillion on welfare and other government programs intended to lift them out of poverty -- yet tens of millions of Americans are still impoverished.

"In my home state, nearly one in five Floridians live in poverty," Rubio said in a Jan. 5 video message. "After 50 years, isn’t it time to declare big government’s war on poverty a failure?"

Rubio called for a new agenda to help people lift themselves out of poverty and create a new "opportunity society" to enable people to live the American dream. Rubio is expected to release additional details Wednesday during a speech at the U.S. Capitol hosted by the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.

Rubio released his video as the Senate returns to take up the issue of renewing emergency unemployment benefits that lapsed in December. Also, Democrats have announced that they will target income equality as a top issue this election year, including a push to raise the federal minimum wage.

Here we will fact-check Rubio’s claim that nearly one in five Floridians live in poverty. Read more from PolitiFact Florida.