Ben Ray Lujan on Welfare & Poverty
Voted NO on maintaining work requirement for welfare recipients.
- Prohibits any experimental pilot or demonstration project that: waives compliance with mandatory work requirements
- Rescinds and nullifies any such waiver granted before the enactment of this Act.
Proponent's Argument for voting Yes:
Rep. REICHERT: Congress must ensure that work continues to be the centerpiece of the TANF welfare program. We are here today debating the Obama administration's efforts to undermine work requirements. Bipartisan discussions were actually happening before the Obama administration announced they would waive work requirements for welfare recipients last summer. That announcement completely undermined bipartisan negotiations in our committee about ways to strengthen this program. Usually, if an administration wants to change the law, they must submit a legislative proposal for Congress to consider, but that's not what the Obama administration did with its proposal to waive the TANF work
Opponent's Argument for voting No:
- Rep. LEVIN: Last summer the administration proposed that states would be allowed to apply for waivers and have some flexibility in terms of the application of the work requirements--not the end of them or changing them, but the implementation of them. The idea that the administration is going to try to overturn welfare reform is ridiculous. States have to apply individually for waivers, and they have to explain in detail why the approach would lead to either more employment or better jobs for people who are trying to stay off welfare.
- Rep. NEAL: I chaired the Democratic position [on 1990s welfare reform]. One of the goals of welfare reform was to move unemployed Americans from welfare to work, and it did work. The legislation has been very successful in meeting that goal. Welfare reform put people back on the work rolls. Welfare rolls have dropped by half, & poverty amongst children has dropped as well.
Reference: Preserving the Welfare Work Requirement & TANF Extension Act;
; vote number 13-HV068
on Mar 13, 2013
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-H169
on Mar 31, 2009
Sponsored maintaining SNAP nutrition assistance program.
Lujan co-sponsored House Resolution on SNAP
- WHEREAS hunger is a serious threat to individual dignity, productivity, learning, economic prosperity, health, and development;
- WHEREAS food insecurity means that people face an ongoing struggle against hunger;
- WHEREAS 50.1 million people lived in food insecure households in 2011;
- WHEREAS the supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP), established in the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, is the nation's first line of defense against hunger and food insecurity;
- WHEREAS SNAP served more than 47.5 million individuals in October 2012;
- WHEREAS the SNAP benefits average less than $1.50 per individual per meal;
- WHEREAS SNAP participation rises when the economy is weak;
- WHEREAS millions of Americans need to turn to SNAP as a way to feed themselves and their families;
Whereas SNAP is an efficient public-private partnership that runs on the regular channels of commerce--regular retail food stores and electronic benefit transfer (EBT) systems;
- WHEREAS every dollar in new SNAP benefits generates up to $1.79 in economi
Source: H.RES.90 13-HRes90 on Feb 28, 2013
Public jobs on community-based public interest projects.
Lujan signed public jobs on community-based public interest projects
- There is established in the Department of Labor a New Economy Grant Program to provide grants for the creation of new jobs on specific public works projects carried out by State or local governments, and community-based public interest projects carried out by nonprofit organizations.
- Specific Project Grants- From the amounts made available, set aside an amount for each State based on the population of and relative unemployment rate.
- Entities eligible for a direct grant under this section include the following:
- STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS that demonstrate an ability to promptly hire new employees for work on specific public works projects.
- NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS- Community-based nonprofit organizations that demonstrate an ability to promptly hire and effectively manage new employees for work on specific projects.
- Such projects must be ready to commence work no later than 2 months after receiving a grant, and new positions of
employment on such projects must be for a period of not less than 6 months.
SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS:
Rep. HARE: The unemployed don't want another benefits check. They want a job. H.R. 4290 would tackle this problem by creating and helping retain millions of jobs. It will reach that goal by investing $60 billion per year over 3 years in TARP money.
Wall Street got its bailout. It's time for Main Street to get theirs.
Source: New Deal for a New Economy Act (H.R.4290) 2009-H4290 on Dec 11, 2009
- First, it would invest heavily in the creation of a new economy grant program.
- Secondly, it would provide a direct line of funding to states and localities to help alleviate their financial woes.
- Further, my bill would provide much-needed funding to our Nation's schools to protect our teachers and hire more to meet the needs of our children.
- The final piece of this bill is a direct line of funding to our national forests and national parks to address some of their many high-needs projects that have been neglected for decades.
Support school breakfast for low-income children.
Lujan signed bill favoring school breakfast for low-income kids
A resolutix`on expressing the sense of the Senate that providing breakfast in schools through the national school breakfast program has a positive impact on the lives and classroom performance of low-income children.
- Recognizes the positive effect the National School Breakfast Program has had on children's classroom performance and the lives of low-income children and families.
- Expresses strong support for states that have successfully implemented school breakfast programs and encourages all states to improve their programs.
Source: SR67&HRes210 2009-SR67 on Mar 5, 2009
- the importance of providing states with resources to improve the availability of adequate and nutritious breakfasts;
- the role nonprofit and community organizations play in increasing awareness of, and access to, breakfast programs for low-income children; and
- hat National School Breakfast Week helps draw attention to the need for, and success of, the National School Breakfast Program.