Yesterday, the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law issued a scorecard — more of a report card, really, since they give letter grades — based on how federal elected officials voted on poverty-related legislation in 2009.
You can check out how West Virginia’s two senators and three representatives voted here.
Overall, West Virginia did pretty well, at least according to the Shriver Center. Two As (Allan Mollohan and Nick Rahall, both at 94 percent), two Bs (Robert C. Byrd and Jay Rockefeller, both at 80 percent), and one C (Shelley Moore Capito, 44 percent). (When I was in school 44 percent was a failing grade, but maybe they’re grading on a curve. Actually, if you check the rankings’ methodology, it turns out 80 percent is a high B, while 44 percent is a low C.)
Interestingly, the Shriver Center puts West Virginia’s poverty rate at 17 percent, while a recent Congressional snapshot put it at 14.6 percent. The U.S. Census Bureau put the three-year average between 2006 and 2008 at 14.9 percent. While that’s a pretty big discrepancy, the underlying reality is still the same: roughly one in six West Virginians lives below the poverty line.