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RELEASE: Half in Ten Releases Poverty Data by Congressional District and State, Map highlights Mismatch between Constituent Hardship and Policymakers’ Votes

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Contact: Laura Pereyra
Phone: 202.741.6258
Email: lpereyra@americanprogressaction.org

Washington, D.C. — Half in Ten, the campaign to cut poverty in half over 10 years, today released new interactive maps that break down the newly released 2010 poverty data by state and congressional district. The map shows the poverty rate and number of people in poverty for each state and congressional district; indicates whether or not there was a statistically significant change from the beginning of the Great Recession in 2007; and breaks out the statistics by gender and child poverty. The campaign also released a brief highlighting districts and states with the highest poverty rates where members voted for job-killing measures and for budgets that make big cuts to safety net programs, while championing bigger tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires. 

These members voted for job-killing budget bills and deep cuts to our nation’s essential safety net in spite of the fact that they represent districts and states with some of the highest rates of Americans living in poverty. See their district and state profiles based on the latest poverty date released yesterday and their recent voting records, here and list below.

Representatives:

  1. Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX-27)
  2. Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY-5)
  3. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL-3)
  4. Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM-2)
  5. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ-1)

Senators

  1. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS)
  2. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS)
  3. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
  4. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL)
  5. Sen. Mitch McConnel (R-KY)

“As members of Congress consider proposals to create jobs and address our nation’s long-term deficits, it is worth asking how these decisions will impact their own constituents,” said Melissa Boteach, Half in Ten campaign manager. “This tool enables policymakers to get the facts on hardship in their own backyards and empowers constituents to ask who these members are representing when they cut spending for jobs and assistance to the most vulnerable while proposing additional tax breaks for millionaires.”

Earlier this month the Census Bureau released the 2010 national poverty data, which indicated that 46.2 million people in the United States lived in poverty last year, the highest number on record. Yesterday’s release of the 2010 American Community Survey data provides a detailed landscape of rising poverty in districts and states across the country.

“This troubling data should remind policymakers of the hardship faced by millions of their constituents and spur them to action to pass a comprehensive jobs plan while protecting low-income families from devastating cuts,” said Deborah Weinstein, executive director of the Coalition on Human Needs, a Half in Ten partner. “Behind each statistic are people struggling to make ends meet.”

Lawmakers were ranked by percentage of constituents living in poverty. The five representatives and five senators were chosen based on having the highest poverty rate and voting “yes” on the votes described below.

“Under the guise of deficit reduction, these lawmakers have voted to dismantle or steeply cut programs that assist their most vulnerable constituents,” stated Winnie Stachelberg, Senior Vice President of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a Half in Ten partner. “Yet in the same breath they voted for budget-busting tax cuts for millionaires and profitable corporations that would add to the deficit. With one in one in four children living in poverty in these districts and states, we encourage these lawmakers to pursue a different course.”

“In nearly every congressional district, people are falling out of the middle class as the ranks of the poor have grown and racial and ethnic disparities have widened,” said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and a Half in Ten partner. “These numbers should be a wake-up call to policymakers to focus on creating jobs and pursing policies that ensure shared prosperity.”

House

Senate

The Ryan budget plan, which proposed to end Medicare as we know it, cut millions off of SNAP/food stamps and Medicaid, and cut domestic spending in areas such as Head Start and Pell Grants, all while creating additional tax cuts for millionaires.

The Ryan budget plan, which proposed to end Medicare as we know it, cut millions off of SNAP/food stamps and Medicaid, and cut domestic spending in areas such as Head Start and Pell Grants, all while creating additional tax cuts for millionaires.

Cut, Cap, and Balance: This proposal would have conditioned raising the debt ceiling on irresponsible cuts that would have cost the economy approximately 700,000 jobs. The proposal required spending caps and a constitutional balanced budget amendment that would have dramatically eroded Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and other programs that provide economic security and opportunity to millions of Americans.

The Toomey budget plan, which proposed to repeal the health care reform law, convert Medicaid into a block grant program, and drastically reduce social safety net programs while cutting taxes for the nation’s most wealthy.

Repeal of the Affordable Care Act would allow insurance companies to discriminate against patients with pre-existing conditions, rescind coverage, keep more than 50 million Americans from obtaining quality coverage, and force seniors to pay more out-of-pocket for prescription drugs.

Repeal of the Affordable Care Act would allow insurance companies to discriminate against patients with pre-existing conditions, rescind coverage, keep more than 50 million Americans from obtaining quality coverage, and force seniors to pay more out-of-pocket for prescription drugs.

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Half in Ten was launched in 2008 to urge local, state, and national leaders to set a national goal of cutting poverty in half in 10 years, and to build the political and public will to advance legislation and programs that will help us to reach it. More information on the campaign can be found at www.halfinten.org.

To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Katie Peters (economy, education, poverty, Half in Ten)
202.741.6285 or kpeters@americanprogress.org

Print: Anne Shoup (foreign policy and national security, energy, LGBT issues, health care, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7146 or ashoup@americanprogress.org

Print: Crystal Patterson (immigration)
202.478.6350 or cpatterson@americanprogress.org

Print: Madeline Meth (women's issues, higher education, Center for American Progress's Legal Progress)
202.741.6277 or mmeth@americanprogress.org

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Tanya Arditi
202.741.6258 or tarditi@americanprogress.org

TV: Lindsay Hamilton
202.483.2675 or lhamilton@americanprogress.org

Radio: Chelsea Kiene
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org