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Shriver Center Releases Its Seventh Annual Poverty Scorecard

June 17, 2014
Contact: Michelle Nicolet


Shriver Center Releases Its Seventh Annual Poverty Scorecard
Report Shows Congressional Inaction in Fighting Poverty

CHICAGO--A deeply divided Congress made little progress on legislation that would help the 46.5 million people living in poverty in the United States in 2013, according to a report released today. At the same time, many bills and amendments that would have had a very negative effect on people living in poverty were ultimately defeated.

The 2013 Poverty Scorecard, published by the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, is a comprehensive analysis of the voting records of every U.S. Senator and Representative on poverty-related issues. The votes used to evaluate the members cover a wide range of subject areas including budget and tax, food and nutrition, health care, immigrants, cash assistance, domestic violence, legal services, workforce, education, voting rights, and employment rights.

“Fifty years after the launch of the War on Poverty, the promise of ending poverty in America remains unrealized,” said Dan Lesser, Director of Economic Justice at the Shriver Center. “Today, when we examine how Congress is addressing the poverty crisis, we too often find partisan gridlock and stubborn inaction.”

The voting records reported in the Poverty Scorecard evidence a deep divide on poverty issues. The overwhelming majority of Senators (97%) and Representatives (95%) were graded at one extreme (A+, A) or the other (D, F, F-). As in past years, Congressional delegations from states with high poverty rates were more likely to have a poor score on poverty-related legislation than delegations from states with low poverty rates.

“History teaches us that if political leaders make the commitment to take on poverty as a collective challenge, the public will respond,” said John Bouman, President of the Shriver Center. “It’s our hope that by sharing these grades and holding lawmakers accountable, the Shriver Center will help spark leadership to advance justice and opportunity for people living in poverty.”

The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law provides national leadership in advancing laws and policies that secure justice to improve the lives and opportunities of people living in poverty. We specialize in practical solutions. Through policy development, advocacy, litigation, consulting, training, and communications, we are building the national capacity of people living in poverty by representing them directly and by supporting and enhancing the capacity of other public interest lawyers who serve them. For more information, visit


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