WASHINGTON D.C. – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) released the following statement in response to the U.S. Census’ annual report today on poverty and annual income rates in America. The study shows that 1.3 million Americans sank into poverty last year, while median household income remained stagnant, and the number of people without health insurance coverage rose by 1.4 million to 45 million:
“It’s telling that the Bush Administration released these dismal numbers almost a month earlier than last year. This is the first time in over a decade that the number of poor increased for three years in a row, and the second year in a row that average income did not rise. These numbers should weigh heavily on this Republican Administration and Congress.
“Since President Bush took office, the number of Americans without health insurance has increased by 5 million. Increasingly, working families are losing insurance coverage through their employers, leaving Americans who are already struggling with weak wage growth and decreasing income to pay for the shortfall. At the same time, the wealthiest Americans and corporations have benefited from billions of dollars in tax cuts and wide-open loopholes. Republicans wave away the 1.8 million job losses since the Bush presidency began as a ‘short-term problem.’ But increasing poverty and decreasing opportunity is not a problem easily dismissed.
“We have listened now for almost 4 years to President Bush’s empty promises of economic recovery and ‘turning the corner’. And we’ve listened as the Republican majority in Congress forces through legislation they claim will help average Americans. But it is crystal clear these policies have not improved life in the United States for working families. Here is what these new numbers tell us that America needs: New leadership.”