Jan 152015
 

There are at least 640,000 Americans who are now living in cars, shelters, abandoned buildings, with friends and relatives, or on the street. A 2011 demographic study showed 40% our homeless population consists of single men, while families with children also account for about 40%, followed by single women (14%) and unaccompanied youth (5%). Including runaways, there are now about 140,000 American children who are homeless. Housing costs can sometimes force poor Americans to choose between shelter and other necessities such as food and medication. Homeless children often do not receive adequate education, nutrition or health care. Many children who grow up poor and without homes are never able to escape this cycle of poverty. Higher unemployment due to the Great Recession has also helped produce record levels of homelessness in many of our cities. Most homeless shelters are currently operating at maximum capacity and are unable to accommodate additional requests for emergency shelter. Increasingly, these requests are from families with children. Advocates say we will continue to have large homeless populations if the recession persists and if states continue cutting services to reverse budget deficits.

Pending Legislation:

H.R.1136 – Violence Against the Homeless Accountability Act of 2013

H.R.2790 – Housing Assistance Efficiency Act

I oppose reforming current homelessness policy and wish to defeat H.R.1136 and H.R.2790

I support amending the Hate Crime Statistics Act to include crimes against the homeless in the crime data collected by the Attorney General under such Act, and wish to pass H.R.1136

I support authorizing private nonprofit organizations to administer permanent housing rental assistance provided under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, and wish to pass H.R.2790

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

About 1 in 7 American households, or nearly 50 million Americans, are food insecure. It would be nice to be able to blame the Great Recession and our high unemployment for this dire situation but many of these hungry people are employed. In 2013, about 40% of all adults requesting emergency food assistance had jobs. Organizations that provide food to our poor claim this is nothing new, saying that it is getting harder for many middle class families to stay self sufficient. The number of African-Americans under the age of 18 living in extreme poverty is now at its highest level since our government began keeping figures in 1980. Nearly 1 million black American children are now living in families with after-tax incomes that are less than half the poverty line. Among other things, food is not always available to indigent American households who must choose between food and other necessities, such as housing and medication. It is estimated that at least 17 million American children, or 20% of all our kids, do not get enough food to eat. Our most effective tool against hunger is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the food stamp program. In 2012, more than 47 million Americans depended on SNAP to feed themselves and their families. However, when negotiating the new Farm Bill, Congress cut $8 billion from the SNAP program over 10 years. Some legislators claim these cuts were made to reduce waste, fraud and abuse. However, recent studies have shown the rate of SNAP fraud is only 1.3%. By taking food away from hungry working parents, seniors and children, critics say these legislators are slashing programs that, if expanded, would end hunger in America.

Pending Legislation:

S.1395 & H.R.2945 – Good Samaritan Hunger Relief Tax Incentive Extension Act of 2013

H.R.208 – Anti-hunger Empowerment Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current hunger policy and wish to defeat S.1395 & H.R.2495 and H.R.208

I support amending the Internal Revenue Code to modify the tax deduction for charitable contributions of food inventory by limiting the reduction in such deduction to the amount by which the fair market valuation of the contributed food exceeds twice the basis of such food and make such deduction permanent, and wish to pass S.1395 & H.R.2495

I support amending the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 to authorize 75% reimbursement for specified state activities to increase program access; stating that fingerprinting shall not be required for program participation; directing the Secretary of Agriculture to establish a Beyond the Soup Kitchen pilot program to provide grants to a primary community-based nonprofit feeding and anti-hunger group in each designated pilot community; to allocate subgrants to other nonprofit feeding and anti-hunger groups in such community; and for technical assistance grants, and wish to pass H.R.208

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill to maintain SNAP and WIC funding at pre-2013 levels

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Due to the effects of globalization and our Great Recession, many well-paying jobs have been replaced with minimum wage jobs. In 2011, there were nearly 4 million American workers being paid the federal minimum hourly wage of $7.25 or less. Often referred to as the working poor, half of these people are over the age of 25 and most are women, many with families. In addition to their wages, many minimum wage earners are dependent on government benefits such as food stamps and Medicaid to survive. Advocates claim low wage-paying companies such as Wal-Mart are shifting worker’s compensation onto government programs and taxpayers. It is estimated that raising the minimum wage to $10.10/hour would lift 1.7 million Americans out of government safety net programs. Advocates say that no American who works full time should be poor. Those opposed to increasing the minimum wage claim we need to be able to compete globally and that businesses can’t afford to pay higher wages without laying employees off. Others disagree and say that increasing the minimum wage does not result in unemployment. They claim studies show that areas with higher wages do not suffer higher unemployment. They warn it is foolhardy to participate in a “race to the bottom” of the global labor market.

However, some say increasing the minimum wage is not the solution to low, unlivable wages because minimum wage increases occur infrequently and are often rendered meaningless by inflation. They believe a “living wage,” indexed to inflation, is the answer to many of America’s economic problems and the best chance to help restore our middle class. A living wage is the amount of income needed for workers to meet their basic needs, including food, shelter, clothing and healthcare. Some estimates have put this amount at about $15/hour. Supporters acknowledge the modest effect a living wage would have on our economy, but point out that ours is a consumption economy whose health depends upon our worker’s ability to buy the items we produce. In 2014, President Obama directed federal contractors to pay a minimum wage of $10.10/hour to all their employees.

Pending Legislation:

H.R.1346 – Catching Up To 1968 Act of 2013

H.R.229 – Original Living American Wage (LAW) Act

I oppose reforming current minimum wage policy and wish to defeat H.R.1346 and H.R.229

I support amending the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to increase to $10.50 an hour the federal minimum wage for employees; including all agricultural employees except those who are members of the employer’s immediate family, and any employee employed in domestic service employment to provide companionship services for individuals who because of age or infirmity are unable to care for themselves; prescribing the federal minimum wage for tipped employees to be 70% of the federal minimum wage in effect for employees, and wish to pass H.R.1346

I support paying workers a living wage; requiring that the federal minimum wage should, as a minimum, be adjusted every four years so that a person working for it may earn an annual income at least 15% higher than the federal poverty threshold for a family of two; it should be set at a level high enough to allow two full-time minimum wage workers to earn an income above the national housing wage; and Congress, any of the several states, the District of Columbia, any U.S. territories or possessions, any Indian tribe, or local or state government may establish a higher minimum wage requirement than established in this Act, and wish to identify a legislator who will either reintroduce H.R.229 – Original Living American Wage (LAW) Act (113th Congress 2013-2014), or a similar version thereof.

 Posted by at 12:00 am