Two bills have been introduced in Congress to update our federal poverty measure that is based on an extremely antiquated estimated proportion of a family's budget spent on food. Both the House (H2909)and Senate (S1625) bills rely on National Academy of Science recommendations in which "the cost of food, clothing, housing, utilities and medical expenses be considered. Income from non-cash benefits, such as food stamps and government tax credits, should also be counted" in an updated poverty measure (right now, these social supports can tip people over the poverty line and deny them much needed assistance).
At the heart of my work as an anti-poverty activist is relying on sound data to design and champion social service and human and community development programs. I applaud Rep. McDermott's and Sen. Dodd's new bills to update the federal poverty measure, which has failed to keep pace with today's high costs of survival. I hope you will sign on to support HR2909 and S1615 and speak out in Congress on the need for a modernized, humane poverty measure in the US.
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