In April the Senate voted 95 to 5 to include the SSBG funding restoration and the ten percent TANF transfer authority as part of the CARE Act (S 476). The House companion bill (HR 7), passed in September, does include SSBG restoration. (See Human Needs Report story September 12, 2003)
The path to a House-Senate conference on the bill has rocky, because an array of Senators have concerns with various provisions in the bill. Nevertheless, advocates for full SSBG funding have been gearing up to persuade House and Senate leaders to include restoration of funds for any charitable giving bill that comes out of conference. The SSBG Coalition is asking groups to write letters to Congressional leadership demanding that the conference bill include the funding restoration that the Senate approved. Letters should be sent to Senate Majority Leader Frist (R-TN), Senate Minority Leader Daschle (D-SD), Speaker Hastert (R-IL) and House Minority Leader Pelosi (D-CA).
Please send copies of the letters you send to Bridget Gavaghan at firstname.lastname@example.org . Lutheran Services in America is circulating an SSBG sign-on letter for faith based organizations. Interested organizations should contact Katie Bolz at email@example.com or 202-626-7946. In addition, Senators Graham (D-FL), Lieberman (D-CT), and Kennedy (D-MA) are circulating a dear colleague letter to their fellow Democratic Senators. Advocates are encouraged to contact Senate Democrats to get them to sign on.