November 17, 2016
WASHINGTON – Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced the Poverty Measurement Act today, a bill designed to improve the income and demographic data available to lawmakers when analyzing our nation’s safety net programs.
“Lawmakers should always have the best information possible whenever they are making policy,” Lee said. “This is especially true for an issue as vital as our nation’s social safety net programs. Unfortunately, the Census Bureau’s current official poverty rate does not always match up with data from other government sources. This bill would fix that problem by authorizing a new Census Bureau survey that would more accurately capture how those Americans who are at or near poverty live.”
The Poverty Measurement Act would authorize a new Census Bureau survey to calculate income and receipt of Federal means-tested benefits. This information will then be linked with individual records from the IRS and the agencies that administer means-tested benefits to provide a more accurate picture of poverty in the United States. A recent study of New York residents found that Census Bureau income calculations missed over one-third of housing assistance recipients, forty percent of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients, and sixty percent of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) payments.
You can read a full copy of the bill here.