McGovern, House Democrats Meet with Secretary Vilsack to Discuss USDA Plan to Address Poverty

Today, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack met with Congressman Jim McGovern (MA-02) and other members of the Democratic Whip Task Force on Poverty, Income Inequality, and Opportunity to discuss USDA’s efforts to address poverty in communities across the country.

During the discussion, Secretary Vilsack and Members of the Task Force discussed a number of initiatives, including Secretary Vilsack’s Strike Force Initiative for Rural Growth and Opportunity to address the specific challenges associated with rural poverty, which has brought targeted assistance to rural communities in 21 states and Puerto Rico. They also discussed child nutrition programs, such as the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Special Milk Program, Summer Food Service Program, and Child and Adult Care Food Program.

“In Massachusetts and across the country, poverty is holding too many Americans back from achieving a better life for themselves and their children. To help our hardest-hit communities, states need strong federal partners,” Congressman McGovern said. “Today’s meeting with Secretary Vilsack provided a valuable update on the progress the USDA is making to reduce poverty and hunger and help our most vulnerable families. With programs like SNAP and summer meals, we are making a difference, but we need to strengthen our investments in these programs to ensure every community gets the help they need. Lifting more families our of poverty and helping them reach the middle class must be our top priority in Congress and I look forward to continuing this important work.”

"I am encouraged by the fact that members of Congress understand that 85 percent of persistent poverty counties are rural, and the unique challenges that come with that," said Secretary Vilsack. "I appreciate the Democratic Whip Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity's recognition of the importance of anti-poverty strategies like USDA’s nutrition programs and StrikeForce Initiative for Rural Growth and Opportunity, as well as efforts like the White House Rural Council’s Rural Impact, to driving economic growth, upward mobility and self-sufficiency, particularly in remote rural communities. Congressional support for these strategies is critical, and I am pleased to call these Members of Congress strong partners in our efforts to grow the economy, create jobs, and provide opportunity for all Americans.”

Launched in 2013, the Democratic Whip Task Force on Poverty, Income Inequality, and Opportunity works to raise the awareness of Members of Congress and the American people about the ongoing crisis of poverty, the positive human and economic impacts of effective poverty alleviation programs, and the need for a comprehensive national effort to eradicate poverty.The Task Force consults with key stakeholders and works closely with the Administration to develop support for strategies to eradicate poverty.