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Statement of Congressman Danny K. Davis (as prepared) In Support of His Amendment to Promote a National Strategy to Reduce Child Poverty by Half in 10 Years

Ways & Means Full Committee Markup of HR 5861, "the Jobs and Opportunity with Benefits and Services for Success Act"– May 23-24, 2018
This GOP bill does not address the problems with TANF in Illinois.  Almost two-thirds of TANF recipients are children and millions of children live in poverty and receive nothing from TANF at all, yet the GOP bill fails to advance meaningful efforts to reduce child poverty.  The context of this bill is telling as well, offering it at the same time that they are working to cut off food, housing, and healthcare for millions of poor children and their parents.

I have an amendment that would take an evidence-based approach to cut child poverty in half within a decade.  Using this approach, the United Kingdom reduced their child poverty rate by 50 percent in a decade.  By contrast, during this same time period, the U.S. child poverty rate increased by over 20 percent.

The amendment is simple.  It sets a national goal to cut childhood poverty by 50 percent in 10 years and eliminate it within 20 years, and then uses science to implement a roadmap for success via a Federal Interagency Working Group. Given the success of this approach in the UK, multiple child advocacy leaders support this amendment, including: 

  1. First Focus Campaign for Children
  2. Alliance for Strong Families and Communities
  3. Children’s Advocacy Institute
  4. Child Welfare League of America
  5. Family Focused Treatment Association
  6. National Association of Counties
  7. National Association for the Education of Young Children
  8. National Diaper Bank Network
  9. National Prevention Science Coalition to Improve Lives
  10. National WIC Association
  11. Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law 

A recent study by the University of Maryland found overwhelming support for the provisions of this bill, including 59 percent of Republicans and 89 percent of Democrats.

This amendment should not surprise the majority because I have led the Child Poverty Reduction Act with Representatives Lee, Roybal-Allard, and Connolly for years and have publicly advocated it at multiple hearings. Further, this amendment does not cost. Ms. Lee and Ms. Roybal-Allard have successfully appropriated funds for the National Academies of Sciences to review the evidence of what works to reduce child poverty. Thus, this amendment is perfectly timed to allow this Committee to truly lead in the reduction of child poverty by establishing the Interagency Work Group to turn the science into action.

It is inexcusable that 20 percent of our children are condemned to grow up in poverty, with one out of every three Black and Latino children living in poverty.  The injustice of high child poverty rates in our nation is magnified by the tremendous suffering poverty inflicts on our youth, families, communities, and nation and by the reality that poverty exacts a greater toll on children of color. 

It also makes economic sense to cut child poverty; new research finds that child poverty costs our economy over $1 trillion dollars each year.

This no-cost amendment says it is time to stop talking about child poverty and to enact evidence-based policies coordinated at the federal, state, and local levels to alleviate this plague.

Congressman Davis serves as the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Human Resources on the Committee of Ways and Means, with broad jurisdiction over the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, child care, unemployment, home visiting, and child welfare.

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    repName Danny K. Davis  
    helpWithFedAgencyAddress Chicago District Office
    2813-15 W. Fifth Avenue
    Chicago, Illinois 60612
    district 7th District of Illinois  
    academyUSCitizenDate July 1, 2017  
    academyAgeDate July 1, 2017  
    academyApplicationDueDate October 20, 2017  
    repStateABBR Il  
    repDistrict 7  
    repState Illinois  
    repDistrictText 7th  
    SponsoredBills Sponsored Bills  
    CoSponsoredBills Co-Sponsored Bills