To Whom It May Concern – Today, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) – led by the co-chairs of the CBC Poverty Reduction Task Force, Congresswoman Gwen Moore(WI-04) and Congresswoman Barbra Lee (CA-13), and CBC Chairman Cedric L. Richmond (LA-02) – released the following statement in response to President Trump’s executive order to restrict access to healthcare, housing, food, and many other programs that help the working poor.
“It’s crystal clear that President Trump, a man who comes from wealth, doesn’t understand the challenges facing the working poor. His constant effort to undermine programs that help these Americans maintain a basic standard of living does nothing more than reinforce deeply racialized myths that poor Americans are lazy and undeserving. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Millions of Americans who are beneficiaries of these programs work two or more jobs just to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads for their families. In addition, the vast majority of full-time workers live paycheck to paycheck. In fact, 70% of Americans rely on at least one means tested federal program throughout their lives.
“President Trump’s plan to cut funding for healthcare, food, and housing programs in order to give tax cuts to billionaires will do nothing more than make a bad situation worse. The fact of the matter is that programs that help the working poor have been have been under constant attack for the last 30 years and, in many cases, don’t go far enough. Only one in four qualifying families with children actually receives Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) only provides $1.40 per meal. Not to mention that only one in five qualifying families actually receive housing assistance. Federal programs should do more to help the working poor who are forced to spend 70-80% of their income on rent and utilities.
“At the end of the day, our constituents should be able to support their children with one full-time job. This requires increasing the minimum wage,
strengthening job training programs, and creating good-paying jobs. Ultimately, we need to give families the tools they need to rise out of poverty, not undercut programs that keep them afloat.”