On December 6, 2023, Representative Kevin Mullin (D-CA) introduced the Poverty Line Act, which would update the way the Federal government calculates the federal poverty line by accounting for real costs and adjusting for regional differences. This would make millions more families eligible for safety net programs such as Medicaid, SNAP (food stamps), LIHEAP (energy assistance), and more.

The current method for calculating poverty doesn’t reflect what working families actually spend on housing, childcare, and healthcare, and doesn’t account for regional differences. This means that millions of struggling families make too little to afford their basic needs, yet because the federal poverty line is so low, they are not eligible for safety net benefits. This bill would allow many more families to access benefits and services to lift them out of poverty.