Senate Committee Holds Poverty Hearing

Written Testimony Links
Affordable Housing, Poverty and TANF

Senator Max BaucusOn June 5, 2012, the Senate Committee on Finance held a hearing, “Combating Poverty: Understanding New Challenges for Families.”

Witnesses and Senators discussed the underlying causes of poverty as related to people in families, as well as the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Unless reauthorized by Congress, TANF is set to expire on September 30, 2012.

While the issue of affordable housing was not discussed in the hearing, its relation to poverty and TANF was mentioned in the written testimonies of some of the witnesses.

Several Senators noted rising rates of poverty in recent years, due in part to the recession.

“The 2010 poverty rate of 15.1% was the highest seen in the past 17 years. The current economic recession is especially acute for children. In 2010, over one in five children were poor. That is up from about one in six in 2006,” said Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) in his opening statement.

Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution argued in his testimony that there should be work requirements for both the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) as well as for housing assistance programs.

“Although controversial, a reasonable implication of these results is that federal policy should encourage work. One way to achieve this end would be to strengthen work requirements in both the SNAP program and the means-tested housing programs,” said Mr. Haskins.

Click here for witness testimony and an archived hearing webcast.