Confronting Poverty

Tomorrow's Minimum Wage Raise Represents a Step Forward for Families and the Economy

On July 24, 2009 the federal minimum wage will go up for the third and final time as part of the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007. Before July 2007, the minimum wage was only $5.15/hour. The law passed by Congress mandated that it be increased in three increments in July 2007, 2008, and 2009 respectively, with tomorrow being the final boost.

On January 23, 2007, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs sent a Jewish community sign-on letter to Capitol Hill, urging passage of this critical anti-poverty legislation.  Dozens of national and local Jewish agencies wrote to Members of Congress:

"As representatives of the American Jewish community, we believe there is a strong moral imperative to give working people a fair wage that reflects the rising costs of living.  It has been nine years since the Federal minimum wage was increased, and in that time minimum wage purchasing power has fallen by 20% and adjusting for inflation, the minimum wage is now at its lowest level since 1955. An increase in the minimum wage would improve the quality of life for millions of Americans, including 3.9 million parents struggling to support their children."  

Thanks to your efforts two and a half years ago, tomorrow the federal minimum wage will rise to $7.25/hour, raising wages for an estimated 4.5 million workers in 31 states, and providing an additional $1.6 billion annually in increased wages.

 

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03:28 PM Jul 23, 2009 - 0 comments permalink


Healthcare Reform is Moving Quickly. Take Action TODAY

Healthcare Reform is quickly taking shape and NOW is the time to take action. To that end JCPA is providing you with two resources.

First, JCPA is co-sponsoring a call TODAY at 2:00 PM Eastern Time, which will provide a "state-of-play" on healthcare reform for the faith community. Our co-sponsors include Families USA, Faithful Reform in Healthcare and our partners in the interfaith WISC healthcare group.

We apologize for the last-minute notice but the call was only recently scheduled. Click here to register and receive call-in information

 

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01:17 PM Jul 09, 2009 - 0 comments permalink


The Measuring American Poverty Act Picks Up Sponsors

On Wednesday, June 17th, Rep. Jim McDermott, chairman of the Income Security and Family Support Subcommittee, introduced The Measuring American Poverty Act of 2009, H.R. 2909.  This act would update-for the first time in half a century-the way poverty is measured in the United States.  On Wednesday, June 24th, Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Pete Stark (D-CA) signed on as co-sponsors of the bill.  A copy of the legislation can be found here, and overview of its provisions can be found here.

 Concern has been expressed by some law makers that changing the way we measure poverty in America would change the number of individuals eligible for  various federal entitlement programs like SNAP (also know as food stamps).  It is important to note that NO change would occur for Federal programs that presently determine individual eligibility or broader allotments based on the current poverty measure.  However, the hope is that once this new poverty measure is established and effectively used, we can gain a better sense of how current federal entitlement programs and tax credits affect their recipients and better target these entitlement programs to those who have the greatest need.  Furthermore, H.R. 2909 would help make the modern poverty measure accessible to State and local governments, who could use the new tool to guide and measure the success of their own anti‚Äźpoverty strategies.

 

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04:10 PM Jun 25, 2009 - 0 comments permalink


Green Pathways Out of Poverty in Kansas City

Earlier this year, President Obama signed "The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)" to help create and save jobs and to assist those suffering the worst effects of the recession. Of that $787 billion stimulus package, over $70 billion was dedicated to greening our economy.

An excellent example of how this money is being put to work can be found in Kansas City, Missouri. In a Spotlight on Poverty article published earlier this week, PolicyLink President Judith Bell describes how the city's decision to invest $200 million of stimulus funding is simultaneously creating jobs, reducing the energy costs of low-income residents, and improving public transit.

The project, known as "Green Impact Zone" is dedicated to taking a 150-block area of the city, which is predominantly African American and low-income, and transforming into "a beacon for smart, green sustainable economic growth."  Specifically, the project will enable:

 

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02:08 PM Jun 18, 2009 - 0 comments permalink


National Call-In Day on Long-Term Services and Supports

A few weeks ago, The Jewish Council for Public Affairs and United Jewish Communities sent out our shared principles on healthcare reform, including the need to include long-term services and supports in any legislation.

Today you have the opportunity to act on this principle. Agencies that represent senior citizens and those with disabilities have designated TODAY, June 4th, as a national call-in day to the House of Representatives on long-term services and supports.  You can call your Representative directly, or use this toll-free number: 1-800-828-0498 and ask to be connected to your member.

 

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02:41 PM Jun 04, 2009 - 0 comments permalink


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