Jun. 17—A longtime advocate for communities impacted by globalization, Toledo Democrat Marcy Kaptur will serve on a new congressional panel focused on closing the nation's widening wealth gap.
Ms. Kaptur is one of eight Democrats tapped by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California to serve on her new Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth, led by Jim Himes, a moderate Democrat from Connecticut.
"Economic inequality has been a growing concern for years — one that has intensified during the pandemic. The widening chasm between CEO compensation and worker pay has gone from unfair to immoral. There is recognition that our economy, which is based on free market capitalism, has not served many Americans well. And it has become clear that the stagnation of workers' pay is a historic picture of injustice," Ms. Pelosi said in a letter Tuesday to colleagues.
Numerous studies have revealed yawning wealth disparities along racial and geographic lines and a shrinking middle class in the United States.
A Pew Research Center study from January, 2020 — before the pandemic — revealed the gap between the nation's highest earners and lower and middle‑income families has been increasing since the 1980s.
Ms. Kaptur has complained that coastal Democrats don't get the economic struggles unique to the Midwest. Her charge on the committee will be policies to revive the economies of struggling regions.
"I am eager to work with my colleagues to bolster the foundations of middle-class prosperity and make real progress on ensuring our economy works for all," Ms. Kaptur said in a statement Wednesday.
The committee's membership comes from a diversity of regions and backgrounds and includes progressive New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio‑Cortez, as well as liberal and moderate Democrats from California, Minnesota, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. The panel will also include Republicans, who haven't yet been appointed.
The committee is modeled after the Temporary National Economic Committee that Congress created under President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938 to examine the economy at the tail end of the Great Depression.