Director of Policy, Poverty to Prosperity Program
Expertise: Poverty, disability, Social Security, criminal justice and re-entry policy
Rebecca Vallas is the Director of Policy for the Poverty to Prosperity Program at American Progress. In this capacity, she plays a leading role in American Progress’s anti-poverty policy development and analysis, with a particular focus on strengthening our nation’s income security programs.
Before joining American Progress, Vallas served as the deputy director of government affairs at the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives, or NOSSCR, where she developed and managed legislative and communications strategies to preserve and strengthen Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income for workers with disabilities. She also served as a co-chair of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Social Security Task Force. Prior to that, Vallas worked directly with poor and low-income individuals and communities as a legal aid attorney at Community Legal Services in Philadelphia for several years, where she was named a Skadden Fellow and a Borchard Fellow in Law & Aging.
Vallas has been featured on MSNBC’s “Melissa Harris-Perry” and “All In with Chris Hayes,” as well as on National Public Radio, C-SPAN, and CNN’s “American Law Journal” among other television and radio programs. She is a frequent speaker at national conferences, is the author of several briefs and articles on income security and re-entry policy, and has testified before Congress. She is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance and was the inaugural recipient of the National Legal Aid & Defender Association’s New Leaders in Advocacy Award. She has twice been named as one of Forbes’ “30 Under 30” for Law & Policy in 2011 and 2014.
Vallas received her law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, where she was elected to the Order of the Coif. She graduated summa cum laude from Emory University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa Society.