Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
This week at CBPP, we focused on poverty and inequality, food assistance, health, state budgets and taxes, and the economy.
The government funding package that Congress expects to pass this week includes important nutrition assistance, but policymakers don’t seem likely to agree in the near term to a comprehensive COVID-19 relief package — even with the latest data again showing that millions of adults (and many of their children) are struggling to get enough to eat, and facing significant housing hardship, which we detail further here.
These data underscore the urgent need for federal policymakers to agree on further robust relief measures.
Families’ access to wealth has largely determined how they’re affected by COVID-19, with wealthier and higher-paid families mostly avoiding the worst health and economic effects. This divergence reflects both racial and class inequities. As states face sizeable budget shortfalls due to the pandemic, they should raise taxes on wealthy people to preserve funding for crucial priorities such as education, to fund increased health spending to contain the pandemic, and to boost cash and other assistance to help struggling families make ends meet during the crisis.
Chairwoman Eshoo, Ranking Member Burgess, and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today. My name is Aviva Aron-Dine. I am the Vice President for Health Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), a non-profit, non-partisan policy institute located in Washington. The Center conducts research and analysis on a range of federal and state policy issues affecting low- and moderate-income families.
This week at CBPP, we focused on food assistance, the new Census data released this week, poverty and inequality, and the economy.
The wide gap between median renter income and median rent extended through 2019, new Census data show, highlighting that the housing affordability crisis existed before COVID-19 and the recession cost many renters their jobs. Policymakers must urgently provide emergency rental assistance to help families struggling to afford housing in the current crisis and take longer-term steps to address the underlying affordability problem that the new data reflect.
The economic gains before COVID-19 sent the economy tumbling were uneven across states as well as racial and ethnic groups, according to American Community Survey (ACS) data that the Census Bureau released yesterday. And the pandemic wiped out much of this progress for millions of families who are having trouble putting food on the table, finding work, and paying the rent or mortgage.
A top priority for lawmakers this month should be raising SNAP (food stamp) benefits as a way of mitigating hardship and injecting fast, high “bang-for-the-buck” stimulus into the economy.
The number and share of Americans without health insurance coverage rose for the third consecutive year in 2019, according to data released today from the American Community Survey (ACS).
Income rose and poverty declined in 2019, but the number of Americans without health insurance increased for the third consecutive year despite a growing economy.
Extending P-EBT in combination with other measures to provide additional food assistance, increase income, and stabilize housing would provide ongoing, needed relief.
Five million Americans who were hit hardest by the current health and economic crisis risk missing out on $6 billion in CARES Act stimulus payments if they don’t file the required online form before October 15. We all have a vital role to play in helping them access their $1,200 payments, which are crucial for them to meet their basic needs during the recession.
This week at CBPP, we focused on health, poverty and inequality, state budgets and taxes, the federal budget, food assistance, and the economy.
Next Tuesday’s release of Census Bureau data on health insurance, poverty, and income for 2019 will provide a record of conditions in the United States before the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting recession hit. Needless to say, those data will bear little resemblance to conditions today.
With millions of Americans still not getting enough to eat during the COVID-19 crisis and recession, Congress’ return gives lawmakers the opportunity to boost SNAP (food stamps) and other nutrition benefits to help Americans put food on the table and help the economy recover.
The harsh recession and deep state budget crisis triggered by COVID-19 are causing sizable public-sector job losses, especially in K-12 and higher education, the latest jobs data show. More large, flexible federal fiscal aid — which stalled in Congress even as the crisis intensified — is needed to reverse as many of these losses as possible and prevent new ones.
State policymakers will soon begin addressing shortfalls that have already arisen in their current budgets even as they prepare next year’s budgets, and many states are bracing to make deeper, more damaging cuts than they’ve already imposed if they don’t receive additional federal fiscal aid.
Rising federal debt should not deter policymakers from enacting additional relief measures to alleviate widespread hardship and keep the economic recovery from losing steam.
Medicaid enrollment rose 8.4 percent from February to July as millions of Americans lost their jobs or experienced sharp income losses due to the COVID-19 recession. That’s in the 30 states for which we have data, which if we extrapolate nationwide would mean about 6 million more people enrolled in Medicaid — and likely more, given continued increases in August in states with available data.