WASHINGTON D.C. – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) today responded to the U.S. Census’ annual report on poverty rates in America. The study shows that more than 1.7 million Americans sank into poverty last year, and median household income declined by 1.1%. This is the first time in a decade that the number of poor increased for two years in a row. The following is Representative Hoyer’s statement:
“The new poverty numbers released by the U.S. Census today should weigh heavily on the Bush Administration and Congress. These numbers are not just statistics or innocuous percentages. They represent one million people who cannot buy food for their children, afford to go to college, pay for their heating bills or prescription medications.
“In addition, median household income fell, putting into numbers how squeezed the average American family is feeling today. It is no wonder that the White House moved this bad news to the slowest news day of the week.
“Americans have listened for 3 years to President Bush’s lofty promises of economic prosperity and ‘robust growth’ while he dismissed the 3 million jobs lost under his watch as a ‘short-term problem.’ But increasing poverty and decreasing opportunity is not a problem easily dismissed.
“The policies pushed by the Bush Administration and Republicans in Congress have been breathtaking only in their failure to improve the lives of average Americans. While the wealthiest Americans and corporations have benefited from billions of dollars in tax cuts and wide-open loopholes, working families have watched their health care costs skyrocket, their schools and community programs suffer from budget cuts, and their friends and relatives lose their jobs.
“Democrats in Congress are not sitting idly by while Republicans fail to successfully address these problems. We will continue to speak out for all Americans and fight hard for health care and job creation strategies that will put prosperity within reach of all America’s families.”