Press

Bush Welfare Reauthorization Passes the House; Call Your Senators Now!

Date: 
May 17, 2002

The Welfare Reauthorization debate now moves to the Senate!

On Wednesday, May 14 Democratic Senators Bayh and Carper introduced their Work & Family Act, with 7 other cosponsors, as their vision for Welfare Reauthorization. They testified on its principles in front of the Senate Finance committee on Thursday, May 16. Early next week news conferences are expected from Senators on the Finance Committee about their visions of Reauthorization.

The Bush/Republican vision is not the one that will best help gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender TANF recipients or other recipients. The Republican bill provides funds for "health marriage promotion activities" and "fatherhood programs." Furthermore it would continue to provide funds for abstinence-only education. We need to have a TANF bill that is sensitive to the needs of GLBT TANF recipients!

BACKGROUND

On Thursday, May 16, 2002 the House PASSED the Republican TANF Reauthorization bill, HR 4737, by a party line vote of 229-197. Congressman Cardin (D-MD) had offered his Democratic Substitute which was defeated by a vote of 222-198. Congressman Maloney (D-CT) then offered a motion to recommit (which would send the bill back to committee for changes) citing that it was not adequately funded and did not go far enough to help families out of poverty. This motion was also defeated. Now it's onto the Senate. Read the Washington Post's "Divided House Approves GOP Welfare Legislation" at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A28097-2002May16.html

TAKE ACTION!

Please call your Senators at (202) 224-3121 starting TODAY and ask them to ensure that TANF Reauthorization reallocates the $300 million from marriage and family promotion and funding for abstinence education into proven paths out of poverty like education and job training.

If you do not know who your two US senators are you can go to http://www.senate.gov/senators/senator_by_state.cfm

This is the crucial time to influence your Senators to make sure that the main TANF Reauthorization bill coming out of the Finance Committee truly reflects what you want. The Finance Committee is expected to introduce their bill as early as next week.

MESSAGE

"I'm asking Senator ___ to ensure that the welfare reauthorization bill reallocates the $300 million from marriage promotion and abstinence education into programs that are proven to reduce poverty. The bill does not take into account the reality of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people."

RESOURCES

For more information on the impact of welfare reform, read the NGLTF publication Leaving Our Children Behind: Welfare Reform and the GLBT Community at http://www.ngltf.org/library. Also, the NGLTF welfare fact sheet at http://www.ngltf.org/downloads/welfarefactsheet.pdf

NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund has a Web site that contains much information about welfare and TANF reauthorization. Visit: http://www.nowldef.org/html/issues/wel/tanf_overview.htm

The Coalition on Human Needs has in depth information about welfare and reauthorization. http://www.chn.org/issues/issue.asp?iss=24

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.