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Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Representing the 43rd District of California

Dems offer resolution establishing wealth gap as a national problem

March 19, 2015
In The News

Rep. Maxine Waters (Calif.) and 52 other Democrats have introduced a measure making Congress formally recognize the widening wealth gap in America.

Waters, the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, said that rising income inequality should be a top concern of Congress. 

"We cannot sit idly by and expect things to change," Waters said on the House floor. "The first step to resolving this problem is acknowledging that it exists, and I encourage all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join and focus on the goal of rebuilding wealth in America."

The Pew Research Center found last year that the wealth gap is the widest since at least 1983. The median wealth of American upper-income families was nearly seven times that of middle-income families in 2013: $639,400 versus $96,500. And higher-income families' net worth was nearly 70 times higher than low-income families.

"The statistics are alarming," Waters said.

The resolution, which has support from members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, further notes that communities of color are particularly hurt by income inequality. Waters cited slow wage growth, costly student loans and unequal access to education as factors.

"These are problems that widen the gap and require Congress to implement pragmatic solutions," Waters said.