Press Release ● Poverty, Income Inequality, and Opportunity
For Immediate Release: 
September 12, 2018
Contact Info: 
Mariel Saez (Hoyer) 202-225-3130
Emma Lydon (Lee) 202-225-2661
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer and Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Chair of the Democratic Whip Task Force on Poverty, Income Inequality and Opportunity, released the following statement after the U.S. Census Bureau released reports on poverty, income, and health coverage in 2017:

“In spite of positive topline economic indicators, too many families are struggling just to make ends meet in an economy with deep structural challenges. According to the 2017 Census numbers, 39.7 million Americans remain mired in poverty.  Furthermore, according to a study by the Federal Reserve, four in ten adults have less than $400 in the bank. Any minor emergency – a broken car, an unplanned hospital visit – could push them into debt. Half of all families can’t afford basic necessities like food, housing, and health care. 
 
“Communities of color still have not benefited equally from growth in jobs and GDP. While the median household income for white Americans rose to $68,100, black Americans saw no measurable increase in household income, which remains at $40,300. Hispanic households continue to earn less, on average, with a median income of just $50,500 last year. Clearly, Congress must do more to ensure that all families – no matter race or zip code – benefit from economic policies designed to help all Americans get ahead.
 
“Sadly, for the first time in half a decade, the United States made no progress on lowering the uninsured rate in the country. This is a symptom of the Trump Administration’s health care sabotage, which has prevented millions of Americans from accessing quality, affordable health coverage.
 
“These numbers also show us what works: essential programs like Social Security and nutrition assistance are invaluable in lifting families out of poverty. Rather than investing in these proven programs, however, Congressional Republicans have pushed unprecedented cuts. Congress should take the 2017 Census data to heart; we must reinvest in proven anti-poverty programs to make sure all Americans have a chance to achieve the American dream.  It is important to note that these numbers released today do not reflect the impact of Republicans’ dangerous tax scam, which drove up record deficits and will make it harder for Congress to meet the challenges of poverty in America.”