Mike Johanns on Welfare & Poverty
Secretary of Agriculture; previously Republican NE Governor
Voted YES on instituting National Service as a new social invention.
Congressional Summary:Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education (GIVE) Act:
Adds to National and Community Service Act of 1990 (NCSA) purposes:
- providing year-round opportunities in service-learning;
- involving program participants in emergency and disaster preparedness, relief, and recovery;
- increasing service opportunities for retiring professionals;
- encouraging service by individuals age 55 or older and continued service by national service alumni;
- focusing national service on the areas of national need.
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Sen. BARBARA MIKULSKI (D, MD): [In developing national service over many years] we were not in the business of creating another new social program. What we were in the business of was creating a new social invention. What do I mean by that? In our country, we are known for our technological inventions. But also often overlooked, and sometimes undervalued, is our social inventions.
We created national service to let young people find opportunity to be of service and also to make an important contribution. But not all was rosy. In 2003, when I was the ranking member on the appropriations subcommittee funding national service, they created a debacle. One of their most colossal errors was that they enrolled over 20,000 volunteers and could not afford to pay for it. That is how sloppy they were in their accounting. I called them the "Enron of nonprofits."
And they worked on it. But all that is history. We are going to expand AmeriCorps activity into specialized corps. One, an education corps; another, a health futures corps; another, a veterans corps; and another called opportunity corps. These are not outside of AmeriCorps. They will be subsets because we find this is where compelling human need is and at the same time offers great opportunity for volunteers to do it.
Opponent's argument to vote No:No senators spoke against the amendment.
Reference: Serve America Act/GIVE Act;
Bill H.R. 1388
; vote number 2009-S115
on Mar 26, 2009
Support LIHEAP, low-income heating assistance.
Johanns signed the Midwestern Governors' Conference resolution:
Source: Resolution of Midwestern Governors' Conf. on LIHEAP 00-MGC2 on May 25, 2000
- WHEREAS, The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) enables states to assist low-income households in meeting critical heating and cooling needs; and
- WHEREAS, More than two-thirds of households eligible for LIHEAP have annual incomes under $8,000, making LIHEAP a targeted, cost-effective way to help low-income citizens pay their home energy bills; and
- WHEREAS, Households served because of LIHEAP include the most vulnerable populations in our states ? the elderly, disabled, and young children; and
- WHEREAS, LIHEAP provides a foundation upon which the Midwestern states have built community-based energy assistance programs and has permitted us to leverage state and local dollars to meet the needs of our citizens; and
- WHEREAS, In past years, funding for LIHEAP has been substantially reduced, and any new funding cuts will impede the statesí ability to meet the energy needs of low-income households; now therefore be it
- RESOLVED, That the Midwestern Governorsí Conference encourages Congress to renew its support for LIHEAP and maintain funding in Fiscal Year 2001 at or above the level appropriated for the program in Fiscal Year 2000.
Maintain federal Social Services Block Grant funding.
Johanns adopted the National Governors Association position paper:
The IssueDespite an ongoing need to provide social services to families, the elderly, and the disabled, federal funding for the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) has been cut dramatically over the past few years, indicating a weakening of the historic state-federal partnership to serve needy Americans. In 1996, as part of the historic welfare reform agreement, Congress agreed to provide the states $2.38 billion each year for SSBG. Since that time, funding has been chipped away little by little. This year, SSBG is funded at $1.725 billion.
NGAís Position The nationís Governors have consistently supported the broad flexibility of the SSBG and are adamantly opposed to cuts in federal funding for the program. Governors believe that funding for SSBG is among the most valuable federal investment that can be made for the nationís most vulnerable population.
Further cuts will be difficult for state and local governments to absorb and will cause a disruption in the delivery of the most critical human services. Governors believe that funding for SSBG should be restored to $2.38 billion, and transferability should be permanently restored to 10 percent, the levels that were agreed to as part of the 1996 welfare reform law.
In 1996, Governors reluctantly agreed to a slight reduction in funding for SSBG, from $2.8 billion to $2.38 billion, with the understanding that funding would remain at $2.38 billion through fiscal 2002, and then return to $2.8 billion. However, the federal government has consistently broken that promise. The nationís Governors strongly urge Congress and the administration to reject the proposed cuts and to restore funding and flexibility to the program.
Source: National Governors Association "Issues / Positions" 01-NGA14 on Sep 7, 2001
Maintain flexibility & funding levels for TANF block grants.
Johanns adopted the National Governors Association position paper:
The IssueThe 1996 welfare reform law, including the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant, needs to be reauthorized before September 30, 2002.
In 1996, the Governors, Congress, and the administration entered into a historic welfare reform agreement. In exchange for assuming the risk involved with accepting the primary responsibility for transforming the welfare system from one of dependency to self-sufficiency, Governors agreed to guaranteed funding for the life of the TANF block grant along with significant flexibility to administer federal programs. The current NGA policy on welfare reform makes three key points:
Source: National Governors Association "Issues / Positions" 01-NGA17 on Sep 21, 2001
- Maintain flexibility. The TANF block grant was created so that states could develop innovative approaches to addressing welfare reform, and states have been successful in tailoring their programs to meet the individual needs of their citizens. This flexibility must be maintained so that states can
continue the progress of welfare reform.
- Maintain investment. States are provided with $16.5 billion each year in federal TANF funds, which together with the required state maintenance-of-effort funds, finance welfare reform. Some will argue that the funding should be cut because of the dramatic drop in caseloads. But TANF is no longer just about cash assistance - states are now serving a much broader population than under the old welfare system, and states are now providing services to families that help them succeed and advance in the workplace, not just cutting a check for cash each month.
- Move toward greater program alignment. The Food Stamp Program is one example of a program that is in great need of reform, and its connection to welfare reform should be discussed in the context of reauthorization. Other related programs that should be considered include child support, child welfare, housing, the Workforce Investment Act and Medicaid.
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