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MAJORITY WHIP CLYBURN, REP. ROGERS, AND SENATORS BOOKER AND PORTMAN INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO TARGET FEDERAL RESOURCES TO PERSISTENT POVERTY AREAS

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February 01, 2022
Tue, 02/01/2022 - 12:00am -- bfrias

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-SC), U.S. Congressman Hal Rogers (R-KY), U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), and U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) today introduced the Targeting Resources to Communities in Need Act of 2022 to direct federal funding to persistent poverty areas throughout the country. 

This bipartisan, bicameral legislation seeks to create smarter, more targeted federal investment in communities that need help the most. If enacted, this bill will assist high-poverty communities with the foundational elements of high-impact, inclusive economic development.

The impetus for this legislation was Whip Clyburn’s 10-20-30 formula, which was included in three Rural Development accounts of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help ensure persistent poverty counties were not left out of the economic recovery from the Great Recession. This formula – which has been applied to more than a dozen appropriations accounts over the past decade – requires at least 10 percent of funds be spent in persistent poverty counties. 

The Targeting Resources to Communities in Need Act expands the 10-20-30 approach to a government-wide effort. Recognizing that different formulas and strategies will be appropriate for different programs, the bill directs the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to work government-wide, program by program to increase the share of funds going to persistent poverty counties, high-poverty census tracts, and other high and persistent poverty areas, with a minimum goal of having programs invest in these areas in an amount greater than their proportion of the population.  OMB and the relevant agencies have discretion on precisely how to best target funds in each individual program.

Following the implementation of these targeting measures, OMB and the General Accounting Office are directed to report to Congress on the measures taken and their impact. In addition, the bill also directs the Census Bureau to publish a standardized list of persistent poverty counties and high-poverty census tracts and authorizes $5 million for OMB to carry out the activities under the legislation.

“I am pleased that this bipartisan, bicameral group is introducing legislation that embraces my 10-20-30 formula to target federal resources to persistent poverty communities,” said House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn. “Poverty is not isolated in red states or blue states. It is a scourge that crosses all jurisdictional lines. This collective effort, addressing this important issue, will have a transformational impact on communities that have been historically left out of the promise of America.”

“This legislation is a great example of how effective we can be when we work together for the American people. It ensures that folks in the most impoverished parts of the country, like our rural Appalachian regions and inner cities, have access to the resources necessary to change course toward a more prosperous future,” said Congressman Hal Rogers. “It’s an honor to work in unity with both my Republican and Democratic colleagues to help Americans most in need.”

“Access to opportunity is one of our nation’s most fundamental ideals, but too many Americans are being left out and left behind,” said Senator Cory Booker. “We have a moral obligation to invest in all of our people, in rural areas and cities alike, by providing the economic opportunities needed to thrive. Though the federal government directs billions of dollars in funding every year for economic development, healthcare, entrepreneurship, and other essential priorities, too often, these dollars never reach the communities that would most benefit from these services. I am proud to join Senator Portman, Whip Clyburn, and Congressman Rogers to introduce this bipartisan, bicameral legislation that will direct federal funding to communities with persistent and high poverty, helping them lay the groundwork for economic development and opportunity.”

“We must do more to help persistently poor areas and counties in the United States. I’m pleased to introduce legislation to provide greater transparency and information for federal agencies on how they can address limited federal resources in the poorest areas of the county,” said Senator Rob Portman. “I hope this effort will also encourage better collaboration at the local level when there are federal programs or grants that offer aid to communities.”

Background

Geographic inequality has increased markedly in recent decades. Between 1980 and 2013, the share of Americans living in metropolitan areas with incomes 20 percent lower than the national average rose from 12 percent to 31 percent. From 2010 to 2016, metropolitan areas with more than one million residents accounted for almost three-quarters of net job creation. Millions of Americans still live in the nearly 500 persistent poverty counties, which have had poverty rates of at least 20 percent for at least the last 30 years. 

This legislation enjoys popular support among organizations dedicated to ending poverty and its impacts. 

Save the Children Action Network

“Children’s futures shouldn’t be dictated by where they’re born. But, unfortunately, that’s often the case – especially in rural America, where levels of poverty can be extremely high. Kids deserve the chance to escape this cycle of poverty and embark on a brighter future, no matter where they were born or where they grow up,” said Roy Chrobocinski, Save the Children’s Managing Director of Domestic Federal Policy. “That’s why we’re proud to support the Targeting Federal Resources to Communities of Need Act of 2022. This legislation is crucial to ensuring that rural, high poverty communities have the resources they need to lift themselves out of poverty and thrive like never before.”

Oxfam America

“COVID-19 has impacted countless communities that now face long-term health effects, gaps in education, loss of jobs and opportunities – not to mention the sheer loss of life and loved ones. Add to this the systemic histories in our country and you see a country increasingly splintered into pockets of extreme wealth and widespread but localized poverty,” said Gina Cummings Oxfam America’s Vice President of Alliances, Advocacy and Policy. “The Targeting Resources to Communities in Need Act would ensure that resources flow where they are most needed and will have the most impact. The health of our entire country depends on smart, deliberate allocation of funds to raise the level of well-being of all of us.”

National Rural Water Association

“More than 90 percent of drinking water utilities and 80 percent of wastewater utilities in the United States are considered small or rural,” said Matt Holmes, National Rural Water Association CEO. “These small and rural utilities often have difficulty providing safe, clean drinking water and complying with federal regulations due to factors like limited economies of scale, lack of technical expertise in the location, a limited customer base and other issues surrounding high-poverty areas. NRWA is appreciative of Congressman Clyburn, Congressman Rogers, Senator Booker, and Senator Portman for recognizing this issue and keeping it at the forefront to ensure these critical water funding programs benefit the most disadvantaged Americans.”

Housing Assistance Council

“As an ally, supporter and friend to rural and persistently poor communities for the past 50 years, the Housing Assistance Council applauds Congressman Clyburn, Congressman Rogers, Senator Booker, and Senator Portman on the introduction of the Targeting Federal Resources to Communities of Need Act of 2022,” said David Lipsetz, President and CEO of the Housing Assistance Council. “Persistently poor rural areas often struggle with local capacity, hindering their access to federal resources. This bill will help level the playing field and require that the federal government work more deliberately to ensure these underserved communities are being invested in equitably.”

National NeighborWorks Association

“National NeighborWorks Association represents 235 NeighborWorks organizations creating over $9.3 billion of affordable housing and community/economic development across the country,” stated Lou Tisler, Executive Director of National NeighborWorks Association.  “The ability of our organizations to address not only the root causes, but also the unequitable effects of persistent poverty are constrained by access to much needed resources.  We thank and support Senators Booker and Portman, Congressmen Clyburn and Rogers for addressing this challenge with legislation directing federally funded programs to provided resources by prioritizing and addressing the most urgent needs of communities and neighborhoods in areas of persistent poverty.”

Find the section-by-section of the bill here.

Find the full bill text here.

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