December 20, 2005

Barbara Lee Introduces Bill to Require Poverty Impact Reports Accountability is Third Component of Legislative "Poverty Package"

(Washington, DC) – As the House of Representatives wrapped up its legislative work for the year, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) introduced the third and final bill in a package of legislation aimed at combating poverty, a measure that will require Congress to report on the poverty impact of its legislative activities.

“We have all seen the devastating impact that turning a blind eye to poverty has caused, and it is clear that we cannot afford to continue to look away,” said Lee. “Congress needs to be accountable. We cannot proceed blindly, hoping that Congress’ actions aren’t hurting people. We need to know exactly what the poverty impact of our actions will be.”

In much the same way that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is currently required to issue a report on the budgetary impact of proposed legislation, Lee’s bill, H.R. 4600, will require the CBO to analyze legislation and report on what impact it will have on low income people.

“The aftermath of Katrina has shown the American people’s deep compassion and concern for others, yet our legislation is often at odds with our values as a nation,” said Lee. “Will a certain bill increase the growing level of poverty in our country? What will its impact be on the lives and livelihoods of low income people? We need a clear way to measure this impact beforehand, because we have seen the tragic results of trying to measure it after the fact.”

In addition to creating Congressional accountability on the issue, Lee’s package of poverty bills is also designed to call for leadership and the establishment of priorities. H.Con.Res. 234 requires the President to submit to Congress a plan for the elimination of poverty. H.Con.Res. 282 rolls back the tax cuts for the wealthiest five percent of Americans and dedicates the funds to poverty elimination programs.