California Congresswoman Calls on Congress to Address Poverty Amid Chaos Caused By COVID

Barbara Lee (CA-13), Co-Chair of the Majority Leader’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity
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Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13), Co-Chair of the Majority Leader’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity, Friday introduced legislation expressing Congress’ moral responsibility to end poverty in the United States.

In 2019, approximately 34 million people and nearly 11 million children were living in poverty. Alarmingly, 8 million more Americans have slipped into poverty since May 2020, 1 in 7 children live in poverty, and nearly 3 in 4 poor children are children of color. The COVID-19 pandemic’s impact will push more families into poverty if urgent measures are not taken to help.

Since mid-March almost 30 million Americans have filed for unemployment because businesses have shut down or reduced their payroll. If this trend continues, the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University projects that 21 million more individuals will be in poverty, the highest recorded rate of poverty since 1967.

“We are continuing fight a global pandemic that has taken over 400,000 lives, it is more important than ever that we, as members of Congress, rethink our priorities to invest in communities that need it most.

"This public health pandemic is occurring on top of a poverty pandemic that continues to impact communities of color and medically underserved communities the most. Instead of funding endless wars around the globe, we should be providing adequate financial assistance for our families, schools, small businesses, and frontline workers to help people survive this crisis.

“As this crisis continues, poverty will continue to disproportionately impact people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, women, and children due to years of discriminatory policies. By cutting wasteful defense spending, ending mass incarceration, and enforcing a more equitable tax system, we can bolster the social safety net, provide comprehensive health care, and create a brighter future for our country.

“This is an immoral stain on our country and it’s past time we took bold action to eliminate systemic inequality. As co-chair of the Majority Leader’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity, I am committed to continuing my work in Congress to eradicate poverty once and for all.”

For the full text of H.Res.67, click here.

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