Nessel joins AGs protesting change in poverty level measurement

    Dana Nessel
    Attorney General Dana Nessel | Susan J. Demas

    Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Monday that she has co-signed a letter urging the Trump administration to reconsider its planned changes to how the federal poverty level is set.

    In May, the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requested public comment on a plan that would change how inflation is factored into the calculation of the federal poverty line. Nessel and the group of attorneys general responded in late June with their letter saying such a move would “have a disastrous impact on our residents.”

    Mick Mulvaney
    Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney | Gage Skidmore, Flickr

    The top prosecutors wrote that “OMB has not advanced a basis for its considered changes,” and argued the office “has artificially limited the scope of the information it would consider in determining the appropriate measure to use. … If OMB were to take any action to change the poverty threshold without considering its effect on the poverty guidelines and the many government programs that rely on those guidelines to determine eligibility for benefits, such action would necessarily be unlawful.”

    “This administration has not provided adequate justification for changes that will put further financial strain on Michiganders and all Americans who look to state and federal assistance programs in times of need,” Nessel said in a statement.

    A report released earlier in June by the liberal think tank the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities argued that the move would kick a large number of otherwise qualifying people off federal assistance programs.

    Donald Trump
    President Donald J. Trump | Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian, Flickr

    The current federal poverty line is $12,060 for a single individual and $24,600 for a family of four.

    In May, a Trump administration official told the New York Times that the move was only meant to re-evaluate different measures of inflation that haven’t been examined in decades, and that its intent is not to keep people from government assistance.

    Derek Robertson
    Derek Robertson is a former reporter for the Advance. Previously, he wrote for Politico Magazine in Washington. He is a Genesee County native and graduate of both Wayne State University, where he studied history, and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.


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