The federal government has spent more than $1.6 trillion in its war on poverty through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) since 1965.
Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R., Texas) noted the massive investment during a hearing on the agency Thursday.
"HUD has already spent over $1.6 trillion in its history and is asking for a 9 percent budget increase," Hensarling said. "$1.6 trillion is more than $13,000 for every household in America and is equivalent to the cost of feeding a family of four for an entire year."
"Meanwhile, one of the greatest threats to our poor continues to spin out of control, namely the national debt clock," he said.
Hensarling said HUD has not been successful in alleviating poverty, its purpose when Democratic President Lyndon Johnson launched it.
"By nearly every official measure, poverty and its consequences are as bad as they were fifty years ago," he said. "The poverty rate today is essentially unchanged from when HUD was founded. Millions more Americans fall below the poverty line today, including an unbelievable one out of five children. This is shameful."
He also noted that since the establishment of HUD the "median price of new homes has doubled and median rents have gone up by more than a third."
Some estimates put the total of the War on Poverty at $22 trillion, three times the cost of U.S. wars since the American Revolution.