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Booker, Clyburn Introduce Bicameral Legislation to Fight Poverty in America

October 3, 2018

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and  U.S. House Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn (SC) today introduced a major new bicameral bill that will expand the successful 10-20-30 anti-poverty formula to a significantly larger group of federal accounts to ensure more funds are targeted to persistent poverty communities without raising taxes or adding to the deficit.  The bill, titled An Act Targeting Resources into Communities in Need, also ensures federal investment in all high-need communities by targeting funding into high-poverty census tracts.

“While genius is spread equally across the country, opportunity is not,” Booker said. “By more strategically targeting limited federal resources to the places that need them the most, we can bring investment to communities that for too long have been left behind.”

“Poverty in the richest country in the world exists not from a lack of resources but a failure of political will,” Clyburn said.  “This exciting new legislation employs proven anti-poverty tools to target federal funds where they are needed most and where they will do the most good.  Congress must act on this urgent priority.”

An Act Targeting Resources into Communities in Need expands the 10-20-30 formula which requires a minimum of ten percent of federal funds of a particular federal spending account go to communities in which the poverty level has been twenty percent or higher over the past thirty years.  The formula was successfully applied to three accounts in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, fifteen accounts in the omnibus appropriations law for 2017 and fourteen for 2018. This new bill expands the number federal accounts using the formula to distribute more funds to targeted persistent poverty communities.

To ensure federal investment reaches all high-need communities, including smaller pockets of deep poverty and those communities experiencing more recent economic downturns, the bill would also require certain federal agencies to target resources to census tracts (a geographic designation significantly smaller than counties) with poverty rates currently exceeding twenty percent.  Agencies would be instructed to direct five percent more of their funding into high-poverty census tracts, relative to the preceding three years’ share.

A one-page fact sheet on the bill can be found here.