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Capital Hill Watch Alert

Personal Responsibility, Work and Family Promotion Act of 2003 (H.R. 4) To Be Considered By House 

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 independence.

  • 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.

What Can You Do?

Urge your representative to SUPPORT the Personal Responsibility, Work and Family Promotion Act of 2003 (H.R. 4).

Contact Information:

Capitol 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.)

To 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

To electronically mail your U.S. House of Representative, go to http://www.house.gov/htbin/wrep_findrep.

Addressing Correspondence:

The Honorable (full name)
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative (last name):

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