In a victory for state innovation and empowerment, the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed H.R. 6655, a landmark bill that opens doors to a brighter future for millions of Americans. Spearheaded by the leadership of Congressman Burgess Owens of Utah, Congresswoman Virginia Foxx of North Carolina, and Speaker Mike Johnson of Louisiana, it marks the first chance in 10 years to reform a system that has long failed job seekers, employers, and those living in poverty.

The Pelican Institute, working with other state partners that make up the Alliance for Opportunity, commends the House for passing this bipartisan bill, recognizing its potential to transform the lives of individuals and families across Louisiana through the concept of a “One Door” system. By granting certain states the flexibility to innovate and integrate services through demonstration waivers, H.R. 6655 paves the way for a more streamlined and effective approach to reducing poverty, accelerating workforce development, and lowering unemployment.

During the House floor debate, Congressman Owens, who has observed these innovations work in his home state, stated, “Innovation isn’t just a buzzword—it’s the key to a stronger workforce and a brighter future for all Americans. I’m proud to support the A Stronger Workforce for America Act and my One Door to Work Act to lift workers out of poverty, off of welfare, and into the workforce.” With millions of open jobs and millions more relying on government assistance, this couldn’t come at a more critical time.

This legislation offers smaller states the opportunity to implement a One Door system, providing a lifeline to those struggling with poverty and unemployment. Louisiana, West Virginia, and Alabama, among others, stand to benefit from this limited waiver opportunity, which promises to allow them to break down current federally mandated barriers to employment and foster economic opportunity. By empowering these states to design and implement tailored solutions to their unique challenges, this legislation represents a paradigm shift in how we approach workforce development and social safety nets that fosters a path toward human flourishing.

Louisiana has already taken proactive steps to implement a One Door-like system. Governor Jeff Landry recently issued an executive order to establish the Louisiana Workforce and Social Services Reform Task Force, through which state agency leaders will soon begin actively studying and planning to maximize their current authority and leverage new federal waiver authority to improve, consolidate, and eventually integrate programs and services on which Louisianans rely. Their charge is clear: to enable Louisiana’s most vulnerable citizens to escape poverty and achieve dignity and self-sufficiency.

Together, these state and federal actions are the beginning of an important, exciting journey toward a more prosperous future for Louisiana’s people, its workforce, and its economy. At last, state leaders have an opportunity to make poverty not just survivable, but escapable, and a true Louisiana Comeback a reality.