The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) has proposed an anti-poverty plan, referred to as the “10-20-30” plan, that would use 10% of program funding in counties where poverty rates have persistently been more than 20% over 30 years. The proposal was adopted for rural development programs under the “Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008” (HERA) and led to $1.7 billion for 4,655 economic development projects in counties with persistent poverty.
USDA Secretary Thomas Vilsack was the primary witness at the February 11 hearing on the USDA’s FY17 budget before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies. During the hearing, Representative Sanford Bishop, Jr. (D-GA) asked Secretary Vilsack about the CBC’s proposal to address persistent poverty in the United States. Mr. Bishop is a member of the CBC.
Secretary Vilsack reported that USDA funds currently exceed the 10-20-30 commitment, with more than 20% of its funds going to counties with persistent poverty rates of more than 20%.
The 10-20-30 proposal is gaining attention as many in Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, seek common ground on tackling poverty. In 2014, Representative James Clyburn (D-SC), also a CBC member, testified before the House Committee on the Budget, then chaired by Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI), in support of expanding implementation of the 10-20-30 proposal beyond HERA. At the time, Mr. Clyburn reported that there are 488 counties with persistent poverty in America.
Reportedly, Mr. Ryan, now Speaker of the House, is taking a “serious look” at the CBC’s 10-20-30 proposal. He met with members of the CBC during the week of February 7 and has told the members he supports shifting more federal funding to parts of the country with persistent poverty.
To view a webcast of the February 11 hearing, visit http://appropriations.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=394359