Barbara Lee Introduces Legislation to Cut Poverty in Half in Ten Years

Nov 3, 2011

Washington, D.C.Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) announced the introduction of H.R. 3300, a bill to help create pathways out of poverty and realize the goal of cutting poverty in half in a decade.  In 2008, the House of Representatives unanimously passed H. Con. Res. 198, which called on Congress to commit to cutting poverty in half in a decade.  The Half in Ten Act of 2011 provides the plan to help accomplish this goal.   

“Americans all across the country are struggling,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee.  “It is clear that our policies and programs addressing poverty have not kept pace with the growing needs of millions of Americans.  It is time we make the commitment to confront poverty head-on.  This bill will help tear down the barriers of poverty and work to reignite the American Dream by providing ladders of opportunity for all.”

 The U.S. Census Bureau released data showing that 2.6 million Americans fell into poverty over the last year and an estimated 46.2 million Americans faced poverty in 2010.  Fifteen percent of Americans lived in poverty last year, including one in five of America’s children.  Communities of color continue to face disturbingly higher rates of poverty, with 36% of African American children and 31% of Latino children facing poverty. 

The Half in Ten Act of 2011 will establish the Federal Interagency Working Group on Reducing Poverty.  The Working Group will develop and implement a national plan to reduce poverty in half in ten years while working to eliminate extreme poverty, child poverty and the historic disparity in poverty rates in communities of color.

 Congresswoman Lee, founding Co-Chair of the Congressional Out of Poverty Caucus, concluded: “We need to create jobs to give Americans economic security and grow our economy.  Our economy will not recover quickly from the Great Recession with 46.2 million Americans living in poverty, but if we give those millions of Americans support and a pathway out of poverty, our economy will grow.”