Rural poverty is a particularly harsh brand of indigence- it tends to be more extreme than urban poverty, and because it develops in areas far from television cameras and daily newspapers, to most Americans it is faceless.  But its consequences are real, and the challenges it present test both our country and our conscience.

Outside our cities and suburbs over 14% of the rural population lives in poverty.  And not only is poverty more prevalent there than in urban areas, but it often festers for much longer.  According to the Center for Rural Affairs, in nearly 25% of rural counties one in five people have been living below the poverty level for at least four decades.

HR 1980 and 1982 are compassionate, responsible bills which encourage the development of low and moderate income housing in our most stricken areas.  A clean and safe home is often the first step on the road to independence.  Far from being a handout, encouraging economic development in poor areas helps create jobs and a solid tax base, which build towards self-sustaining prosperity.  HR 1980 and HR 1982 are wise, compassionate investments in our country's future, and I am proud to co-sponsor them.