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Rebecca Vallas Click to download hi-resolution image

Expertise: Poverty, disability, Social Security, criminal justice and re-entry policy

Rebecca Vallas is a nonresident senior fellow at American Progress. Previously, she helped to build CAP’s Poverty to Prosperity Program, serving in a range of roles, including as the program’s policy director and vice president—and along the way, helped to launch the Disability Justice Initiative as well as the organization’s criminal justice reform work. In partnership with legal aid leaders, Vallas co-developed the “clean slate” model of automated, automatic criminal record-clearing that is now law in Pennsylvania, Utah, and Michigan, as a strategy to remove barriers to economic opportunity for justice-impacted individuals and families. Vallas later co-founded the national Clean Slate Initiative to support state efforts to adopt clean slate policies. Forever a legal aid lawyer at heart, prior to joining American Progress, Vallas spent several years representing low-income individuals and families at Community Legal Services in Philadelphia, where she began her work as a Skadden Fellow.

Vallas has appeared on MSNBC, CNN, CNBC, C-SPAN, Fox News, PBS, Al-Jazeera America, and NPR, as well as an array of local television and radio outlets. She also hosts “Off-Kilter” (formerly TalkPoverty Radio), a nationally distributed podcast about poverty, inequality, and everything they intersect with. Vallas has authored a wide range of briefs, articles, and op-eds on anti-poverty policy, income security, disability policy, access to justice, and criminal justice and reentry policy. Vallas has testified before Congress on numerous occasions, and her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal, among other outlets. She serves as a member, as well as a member of the Board of Directors, of the National Academy of Social Insurance and was the inaugural recipient of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association’s New Leaders in Advocacy Award. She was twice named to Forbes Magazine’s “30 Under 30” for Law and Policy as well as Emory University’s “40 Under 40.”

Vallas received her law degree from the University of Virginia, where she was elected to the Order of the Coif and named the recipient of the Margaret G. Hyde Award and the Mortimer Caplin Public Service Award. 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. In a past life, she was an operatically trained mezzo soprano.

By Rebecca Vallas
A Criminal Record Shouldn’t Be a Life Sentence to PovertyCenter for American ProgressMay 28, 2021
A Clean Slate in the Age of CoronavirusInsideSourcesMay 20, 2020
Republicans wrapped the safety net in red tape. Now we’re all suffering.The Washington PostApril 15, 2020
State momentum in criminal record sealing fuels federal clean slate billThe HillMarch 2, 2020
‘It Would Bring so Much Relief to so Many People:’ How Washington’s Clean Slate Legislation Could Give People a Second ChanceCenter for American ProgressFebruary 7, 2020
Trump administration cuts to Social Security disability benefits among the cruelestUSA TodayJanuary 27, 2020
‘If You Are Telling Someone They Can Come Home One Day, They Deserve a Second Chance.’Center for American ProgressOctober 8, 2019
Trump’s Newest Plan for SNAP Would Trap Workers in PovertyRewire.NewsJuly 29, 2019
‘A Mistake Shouldn’t Sit on Your Shoulders.’Center for American ProgressJune 28, 2019
‘I Can Celebrate and Say I’m Free:’ How Connecticut’s Clean Slate Act Can Give People a Second ChanceCenter for American ProgressApril 24, 2019
5 Reasons Why Strengthening the EITC and CTC Is the Kind of Tax Reform America NeedsCenter for American ProgressApril 19, 2019
Introducing Clean SlateCenter for American ProgressApril 12, 2019
The ‘Clean Slate’ bill would let people move on from their mistakes.Hartford CourantApril 9, 2019
Trump’s Effort to Cut SNAP by Fiat Would Kill 178,000 Jobs Over the Next DecadeCenter for American ProgressMarch 14, 2019
Will Trump Starve SNAP Households to Get His Wall?Rewire.NewsJanuary 15, 2019
A Criminal Record Shouldn’t Be a Life Sentence to PovertyCenter for American ProgressApril 12, 2018
News You Can Use: Research Roundup for Re-Entry AdvocatesCenter for American ProgressApril 5, 2018
Rising Inequality Is Threatening the Health of Social SecurityCenter for American ProgressFebruary 15, 2018
Trump’s Budget Reveals that He Wants Everyday Americans to Pay for His Tax Cuts for the WealthyCenter for American ProgressFebruary 12, 2018
The Congressional Republican Tax Plan Is a Tax on DisabilityCenter for American ProgressNovember 27, 2017
Work Requirement Proposals Would Kick Struggling Workers When They’re DownCenter for American ProgressNovember 2, 2017
At Least 1.4 Million Nonelderly Adults with Disabilities Would Lose Medicaid Under Graham-CassidyCenter for American ProgressSeptember 25, 2017
The Quiet Attack on the ADA Making Its Way Through CongressCenter for American ProgressSeptember 22, 2017
Census Data Show We’re Finally Back to Pre-Recession Poverty Levels. Trump’s Budget Risks Erasing Those Gains.Spotlight on Poverty and OpportunitySeptember 13, 2017
How the Trump Budget Undermines Economic Security for Working FamiliesCenter for American ProgressMay 23, 2017
Six States Leading the Charge on Second-Chance PoliciesCenter for American ProgressApril 7, 2017
The Impact of Medicaid Cuts on People with Disabilities: State-by-State BreakdownCenter for American ProgressMarch 22, 2017
5 Ways President Trump’s Agenda Is a Disaster for People with DisabilitiesCenter for American ProgressMarch 8, 2017
4 Things You Need to Understand About Trump’s SpeechCenter for American ProgressMarch 1, 2017
Rising Earnings Inequality Is Taking a Mounting Toll on Social SecurityCenter for American ProgressFebruary 16, 2017
Toward a Dignified Retirement for AllCenter for American ProgressNovember 15, 2016
What No One’s Talking About in the New Poverty DataSpotlight on Poverty and OpportunitySeptember 13, 2016
Want to Reduce Crime? Raise Wages.Morning ConsultAugust 30, 2016
On 20th anniversary of welfare law, it’s time to change courseThe HillAugust 15, 2016
A Plan to Enhance the Child Tax CreditCenter for American ProgressAugust 15, 2016
Creating Safe and Healthy Living Environments for Low-Income FamiliesCenter for American ProgressJuly 20, 2016
Disabled Behind BarsCenter for American ProgressJuly 18, 2016
A Progressive Agenda to Cut Poverty and Expand OpportunityCenter for American ProgressJune 6, 2016
Yet Another Reason Raising the Social Security Retirement Age Is a Terrible IdeaCenter for American ProgressMay 23, 2016
3 Reasons Why We Should Certify All Paid Tax PreparersCenter for American ProgressApril 20, 2016
A Blueprint for Cutting Poverty and Expanding Opportunity in AmericaCenter for American ProgressApril 14, 2016
Forfeiting the American DreamCenter for American ProgressApril 1, 2016
Making the Jobless Hungrier Won’t Help Them Find Work FasterInsideSourcesMarch 17, 2016
Infographic: Criminal Records Are a Family SentenceCenter for American ProgressDecember 10, 2015
Removing Barriers to Opportunity for Parents With Criminal Records and Their ChildrenCenter for American ProgressDecember 10, 2015
Social Security Disability Insurance: A Bedrock of Security for American WorkersCenter for American ProgressNovember 4, 2015
Investing in Millennials Through an Economy that Works for AllCenter for American ProgressSeptember 9, 2015
Hurricane Katrina: Ten Years LaterTalkPoverty RadioAugust 28, 2015
Strengthening the Child Tax Credit Would Provide Greater Economic Stability for Millennial ParentsCenter for American ProgressAugust 27, 2015
Enhancing the Child Tax Credit Would Substantially Lessen the Depth of Child Poverty Across StatesCenter for American ProgressAugust 12, 2015
Harnessing the Child Tax Credit as a Tool to Invest in the Next GenerationCenter for American ProgressAugust 12, 2015
3 Facts You Need to Know About the Obama Administration’s Proposed Child Support RulesCenter for American ProgressJune 18, 2015
Social Security Disability Insurance: A Bedrock of Security for American WorkersCenter for American ProgressJune 16, 2015
Top 5 Reasons Why TANF Is Not a Model for Other Income Assistance ProgramsCenter for American ProgressApril 29, 2015
Cutting Social Security Disability Insurance Won’t Help Anyone Go Back to WorkCenter for American ProgressApril 14, 2015
Testing Congressional Republicans’ Sincerity About Tackling InequalityCenter for American ProgressMarch 12, 2015
The Effect of Rising Inequality on Social SecurityCenter for American ProgressFebruary 10, 2015
A Subsidized Jobs Program for the 21st CenturyCenter for American ProgressJanuary 29, 2015
A Fair Shot for Workers with DisabilitiesCenter for American ProgressJanuary 28, 2015
One Strike and You’re OutCenter for American ProgressDecember 2, 2014
Harnessing the EITC and Other Tax Credits to Promote Financial Stability and Economic MobilityCenter for American ProgressOctober 7, 2014
The Top 10 Solutions to Cut Poverty and Grow the Middle ClassCenter for American ProgressSeptember 17, 2014
A Simple but Critical Fix Is Needed Now for the Nation’s Disability SystemNational JournalSeptember 11, 2014
Asset Limits Are a Barrier to Economic Security and MobilityCenter for American ProgressSeptember 10, 2014
Time for a 21st Century Social ContractCenter for American ProgressAugust 11, 2014
The Ryan Budget in Sheep’s Clothing?Center for American ProgressJuly 24, 2014
Social Security Disability InsuranceCenter for American ProgressJuly 8, 2014
The Facts on Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income for Workers with DisabilitiesCenter for American ProgressMay 30, 2013
Maintaining and Strengthening Supplemental Security Income for Children with DisabilitiesCenter for American ProgressSeptember 10, 2012