Sending Office: Honorable Alma S. Adams
The Inalienable Rights Amendment
Become an Original Cosponsor of a Constitutional Amendment That Ensures Fundamental Rights For All
Endorsements: Food Research and Action Center
Cosponsors: Rep. Schakowsky
Since the founding of the United States, we have held in the highest regard our inalienable rights and freedoms, principally that all citizens have the right to life, liberty and property. However, our federal policies have not always supported the advancement
of these core beliefs. In order to create a society where each and every citizen is truly equal, we must further define what constitutes these fundamental rights. The rights to life, liberty, and property are only attainable if one is guaranteed the core
needs of housing, healthcare, nutrition, and education.
I ask you to please join me as a cosponsor of the Inalienable Rights Constitutional Amendment, calling for the recognition of the right to affordable housing, cost-effective healthcare, quality education and adequate nutrition – all rights that are laid
out in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of which the United States is a party.
According to NLIHC, there’s an 8.7 million-unit shortage of rental housing, which has led to millions of the most vulnerable renters being cost-burdened. Not only is affordable housing fundamental to fulfilling the basic human need for shelter, it also contributes
to the overall well-being of parents, children, and communities. Studies show that children and youth in stable, affordable housing drive stronger student outcomes and higher educational attainment. Decent, affordable housing reduces stress, toxins, and infectious
disease, resulting in improvement in both physical and mental health. It also allows families to better allocate resources to healthcare and food, instead of foregoing these important needs altogether. For decades, lack of stable housing has caused needless
severe emotional, health, and financial hardships for hundreds of thousands of families, women, and children. On any given night, approximately 550,000 families in the United States experience homelessness. Based recent data from the Department of Education
and the 2013 Census, a staggering 2.5 million children do not have homes each year in America. This historic high represents one in every 30 children in the United States. This is simply unacceptable, inhumane and immoral in the most developed nation in the
The World Health Organization’s Constitution (1946) states, “…the highest attainable standard of health is a fundamental right of every human being.” The human right to health means that everyone has access to medical services, sanitation, adequate food,
decent housing, healthy working conditions, and a clean environment. Millions of Americans forego basic health care needs and are forced to ration or skip their life-saving prescriptions, because they simply cannot afford standard care. In the United States,
medical bills are the biggest cause of bankruptcies – roughly 2 million people have seen their financial situations and stability deteriorate due to lack of access to affordable, quality services. Despite the existence of effective federal programs such as
Medicare, Medicaid, DOD TRICARE, VHA, IHS and SCHIP, there remain 28 million uninsured Americans. It is imperative our nation continue to debate healthcare reform, including efforts to provide universal coverage, until every person is afforded this basic right.
Every day, forty million Americans struggle to put food on their table. Even more tragic, there are an estimated 12,938,000 children who lack consistent access to enough food to live active, healthy lives. While 58% of food-insecure households participated
in at least one of the major federal food assistance program — the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps); the National School Lunch Program or the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC),
these programs alone still have not been able to end hunger and food insecurity in America. Due to the inadequacy of benefits, families are often forced to choose between placing food on the table and covering other important expenses, like medical bills and
rent. SNAP benefits provide a mere $1.40 per meal. Benefit levels are based on the Thrifty Food Plan, a restrictive model used to calculate average food costs. The latest USDA Household Food Security report showed that the typical U.S. household spent 22 percent
more on food than the Thrifty Food Plan estimates. This is unacceptable. No one should be hungry in a nation that is one of the world’s most dominant economic and military powers.
Increases in educational attainment have proven to lead to improvements in multiple economic indicators. Education is a driver of improved demographic and health outcomes and has contributed to many of the labor productivity gains we’ve seen since the beginning
of the 20th Century. However, public investment of schools, particularly those that serve low-income and students of color, has consistently decreased in the 21st Century. Additionally, we have seen a dramatic increase in funding that
goes to private schools, which further leads to gaps in educational attainment between wealthy and low-income Americans. As a right that we widely recognize as a public good, there is no reason why quality of education should be based on factors such as where
a child lives, or whether they were born to wealthy parents.
In order to fulfill this nation’s promise of being the world’s beacon of opportunity, it is imperative that every citizen has access to the tools needed to make opportunity possible. For too long, we have neglected our responsibility to invest in every American
man, woman, and child. This amendment would end that neglect once and for all. Let’s make a national commitment to all who live within our borders by providing adequate funding for federal affordable housing programs, improving our healthcare system, addressing
inequality in the public-school system, and expanding access to quality nutrition.
If you have any questions, or wish to cosponsor this amendment, please contact Kichelle Webster in my office at
Kichelle.Webster@mail.house.gov or call 5-1510.
Alma S. Adams, Ph.D.
Member of Congress
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