Washington, D.C. – Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Chair of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), made the following statement today as the JEC released a fact sheet on the U.S. Census Bureau’s report on income, poverty and health insurance coverage in 2009 and the extent to which it sheds new light on the toll of the Great Recession on America’s families. The fact sheet is attached and can also be accessed by clicking here.
“Today’s alarming poverty statistics give us insight into the impact of the Great Recession on American families’ economic well being and quality of life. It is important to note and understand these numbers have been somewhat mitigated over the past year by public programs and policies that have in fact buffered many Americans from the worst effects of poverty. For example, including the value of the food stamps program would remove 3.6 million people – half of them children – from poverty. Without unemployment insurance, 3.3 million additional Americans would have been below the poverty threshold.
“I was struck by the number of people who lost their health insurance due to being dropped by private health insurance carriers. Fortunately, the health care reform legislation that President Obama signed into law this year will help to keep this figure from getting worse in years to come.
“The data also underscore how government programs can provide powerful aid to people in hard economic times. As Congress debates the funding of these supports in the future, we should be mindful of the number of families and in particular the number of children for whom these programs translate into food on their tables, roofs over their heads, and medical care during illnesses.”