Wheeling woman’s plea to Congress makes national news

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October 31 2021 11:59 pm

Wheeling, W.Va. (WTRF) A woman’s plea to a Congressional committee about poverty guidelines went viral when her emotional words resonated with the nation.

Amy Jo Hutchison of Our Future West Virginia said she has pulled herself up by her bootstraps so many times, she’s pulled them off.

She said she felt compelled to make the speech when she learned the Trump administration wants to use a different formula to calculate the poverty rate, which she feels would make it look on paper as if fewer Americans are living in poverty.

“I don’t want them to mess with the poverty rate formula because they’re already so out of touch and so unrealistic, they’re not relevant to people,” Hutchison said.

So she went before the Congressional Committee on Oversight and Reform. She used real-life examples like a gas station clerk, raising her children alone, who got promoted to manager. She was thrilled–at first.

“But what happened was she lost all of her assistance,” Hutchison noted. “So her rent went from $475 to $950 a month, she lost her SNAP assistance (formerly called food stamps), and she lost her family’s health insurance.”

And in the Ohio Valley, she says, landlords have raised rents because of the influx of pipeliners with big housing allowances.

“The average that I have found has been around $1200 a month,” she said. “And they would require additional deposits of the first month’s rent, the last month’s rent–an entire month’s pay for me right now to be able to move into one of those homes.”

She noted that Congress members get $40,000 a year for office furniture alone, yet a family of three can’t make more than $22,000 a year or they are considered above the poverty line.

“One of my points was, quit talking about poor people and start talking to us,” Hutchison said. “Because again, it’s a bunch of people making laws and regulations about a situation that they don’t understand.”

At the end of her speech, she was shocked to hear applause.

“Which I was told through a staffer that she has sat through a hundred committee meetings, and no one has ever given applause before,” she said.

She said people are rationing their insulin and skipping their medications because they can’t afford them.

She said there are 46 million Americans living in poverty.

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