CHN: Appropriations Update
Articles from September 12, 2003
- Senate Continues Reauthorization of WIA
The Workforce Investment Act (WIA), the nation’s primary job training and services system, is due to be reauthorized this year. The House passed a partisan, Republican-sponsored bill in May (HR 1261). In contrast, the Senate has worked over the last few months to draft a bipartisan bill. Since June, staff on the Senate Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee have been meeting to work on their bipartisan draft, starting from a Republican proposal that was very similar to the House-passed bill, HR 1261. Although HELP staff have released their draft in three separate stages this summer, their work is not finished. The third and most recent draft of the bill was released over the Labor Day weekend and a summary is below.
- Appropriations Update
You can get current status and highlights of three key appropriations bills (Labor-HHS-Education; VA-HUD; and Agriculture) as they move through Congress this spring by clicking here.
- Charitable Giving Act Moves Forward in the House Without SSBG Funding
On Tuesday, September 9 the House Committee on Ways and Means approved HR 7, the Charitable Giving Act of 2003. The bill includes several tax provisions related to charitable contributions and tax-exempt organizations, including a provision to allow filers who do not itemize on their tax returns to take deductions for certain charitable contributions. Despite urging from advocates to include increased funding for the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG), the committee rejected an amendment offered by Rep. Ben Cardin (D-MD) to restore funding for the program to its full $2.8 billion level. (Current funding is $1.7 billion.) All Democrats voted in favor of restoring SSBG; all Republicans except Rep. Amo Houghton (NY), Nancy Johnson (CT), and Jim Ramstad (MN) opposed the amendment. The committee approved an amendment offered by Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) to restore the transfer authority of up to ten percent of TANF funds to SSBG. The bill is scheduled to go to the House floor September 17.In April the Senate approved by a vote of 95 to 5 the CARE Act (S 476), which includes the charitable giving provisions, the SSBG funding restoration, and the ten percent TANF transfer authority.
- Senate Blocks Implementation of Overtime Rules Change
During the debate on the FY 04 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill, the Senate adopted an amendment that would prohibit Department of Labor funding from being used to implement any rule that would take away the right to overtime pay for any worker.
On September 10 the Senate Finance Committee approved a TANF reauthorization bill, called PRIDE (Personal Responsibility and Individual Development for Everyone). Its key differences from current law are increased work requirements, funding for marriage promotion and fatherhood programs, and improvements in distributing child support to families. The proposal provides just $1 billion additional child care funding over the next five years, although it is expected that Senator Snowe will offer an amendment when the bill goes to the floor to increase that amount. In addition the bill includes a “superwaiver” provision that would give up to ten states authority to waive federal laws to coordinate TANF, the Social Services Block Grant and child care programs.