The House of Representatives
is scheduled to consider the Personal Responsibility, Work and Family
Promotion Act of 2003 (H.R. 4) (To view the Full
text of legislation ) on Thursday,
February 13, 2003.
The measure reforms
welfare and is identical to H.R. 4737 which passed by a bipartisan
vote of 229 -197 in the House of Representatives in the 107th
Congress. Some of the key aspects of the measure are:
- It requires that welfare recipients work 40 hours
per week at either a job or in programs designed to help them achieve
- Beginning in fiscal year (FY) 2004 the measure
increases the work requirement by five percent annually so states
are required to have 70 percent of families on welfare participating
in work and job-preparation activities.
- To ensure that individuals leaving welfare for
employment have guaranteed health care coverage for up to a year
as they transition into self-sufficiency, the bill reauthorizes
the Transitional Medical Assistance program.
- For programs that encourage healthy, stable marriages,
the measure makes available up to $300 million annually as soon
as the legislation becomes law.
Pre-marital education and counseling, as well as research
and technical assistance into promising approaches that work, are
included in these programs.
- For the abstinence education state block grant,
$50 million is provided annually in funds to states to be used exclusively
for the teaching of abstinence from premarital sexual activity.
- To enable states to conduct “State Flex” demonstration
projects to improve program effectiveness or coordinate a range
of programs in order to improve service delivery, the bill offers
new authority to Temporary
Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Food Stamps, Public Housing,
Workforce Investment Act, and Child Care, among others which are
included in eligible programs.
- To test innovative and improved approaches to deliver
Food Stamp benefits to needy families, the Secretary of Agriculture
may select from among competing applications (up to five states).
- So children are developmentally prepared to enter
school, the measure encourages states to address the cognitive needs
of young children.
- Through the Child Care and Development Block Grant
(CCBG) the bill continues historically high levels of support for
child care which is currently $4.8 billion annually and in the coming
five years will add an additional $2 billion in funds. Fifty percent of this funding will be
discretionary and half will be mandatory.
Taxpayer protection provisions that passed the House in the
107th Congress that fully offset the additional mandatory
costs are included in the legislation.
Also, H.R. 4 increases from 30 percent to 50 percent annually
the amount of TANF funds states can transfer to CCDBG.
Can You Do?
Urge your representative
to SUPPORT the Personal Responsibility, Work and Family
Promotion Act of 2003 (H.R. 4).
Hill Switchboard Numbers: 202-225-3121 or 202-224-3121. Those numbers will direct you to the Capitol
Hill operator. Ask for your representative's office.)
go to your representative's website, find his E-mail or to find out
who your representatives are... http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW.html
electronically mail your U.S. House of Representative, go to http://www.house.gov/htbin/wrep_findrep.
Honorable (full name)
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Representative (last name):