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House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer

Opportunity Nation is encouraged about the creation of a new task force on Poverty and Opportunity this week with a bold goal of cutting poverty in half in the next decade. The task force will work to raise public awareness about the circumstances facing low-income citizens and the barriers to economic mobility they face.

Currently, 46 million people – 15 percent of the U.S. population – live in poverty, including  one in five American children .

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, D-MD, said the group will “explore ways our caucus can better address the challenges of poverty by creating new opportunities for the most vulnerable in our society.” 

This includes better aligning federal, state and local anti-poverty programs; improving the way the United States measures the impact of these programs and how they improve the long-term economic outcomes for Americans; and removing barriers that prevent low-income Americans from joining the middle class.

The Task Force will explore solutions raised in Opportunity Nation’s Shared Plan including making higher education more affordable and accessible and ensuring that more young people gain the skills they need to compete in today’s job market.

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-CA, will serve as chairwoman. She warned that looming across-the-board federal budget cuts scheduled to go into effect March 1 will further tatter the country’s fraying social safety net, as essential human services and education programs are reduced.

Poverty is a growing crisis in this country and providing opportunity, especially to young adults, is key to solving this problem.

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