Diane Watson on Welfare & Poverty
Democratic Representative (CA-33)
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
Voted YES on providing $70 million for Section 8 Housing vouchers.
Voting YES on this amendment would add $70 million to the Section 8 housing voucher program, funding an additional 10,000 affordable housing vouchers.
Proponents of the amendment say:
- This amendment would enable an additional 10,000 low-income families to afford safe, decent housing.
- To offset this increase, the amendment cuts a poorly managed computer upgrade program. The committee has been very ingenious in squirreling away money in different accounts and the bill would still provide $94 million in funds for IT projects.
- We have a choice: Do we want to help thousands of families obtain affordable housing, or do we think it is more important to have a somewhat faster computer upgrade in HUD?
- Our amendment does not seek to restore the amount to the amount that the President recommended, which is $144 million more than the committee recommends, it seeks merely to restore $70 million, or about half of what the difference is to what the President recommended.
- This is less than the bare
minimum of what is needed. We have hundreds of thousands of families on waiting lists, waiting up to 10 years for decent housing for Section 8 vouchers.
Reference: Department of Housing and Urban Development appropriations;
Bill HR 5576 Amendment 1015
; vote number 2006-267
on Jun 13, 2006
- The existing bill fully funds the renewal of Section 8 vouchers. Additional funds are simply not necessary.
- The cost of Section 8 vouchers are remaining constant and in some markets are actually decreasing. As such, this funding level will provide funds to restore vouchers that may have been lost in recent years.
- The proposed reduction will cause delays in critically needed efforts to modernize antiquated legacy computer systems.
Voted NO on promoting work and marriage among TANF recipients.
Welfare Reauthorization Bill: Vote to pass a bill that would approve $16.5 billion to renew the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant program through fiscal 2008 and call for new welfare aid conditions. The bill raises the work requirements for individuals getting assistance from 30 to 40 hours per week. States would be required to increase the number of recipient families working from the current level of 50 percent to 70 percent or more in 2008. The bill also provides an additional $1 billion in mandatory state child care grants and provides $200 million annually for marriage promotion programs.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Pryce, R-OH;
Bill HR 4
; vote number 2003-30
on Feb 13, 2003
Develop a strategy to eliminate extreme global poverty.
Watson co-sponsored developing a strategy to eliminate extreme global poverty
A BILL to require the President to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to further the United States foreign policy objective of promoting the reduction of global poverty, the elimination of extreme global poverty, and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal of reducing by one-half the proportion of people worldwide, between 1990 and 2015, who live on less than $1 per day.
Congress makes the following findings:DECLARATION OF POLICY: It is the policy of the United States to promote the reduction of global poverty, the elimination of extreme global poverty, and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal of reducing by one-half the proportion of people worldwide, between 1990 and 2015, who live on less than $1 per day.
- More than 1 billion people worldwide live on less than $1 per day, and another 1.6 billion people struggle to survive on less than $2 per day.
- At the UN Millennium Summit in 2000, the US joined more than 180 other countries in committing to work toward goals to improve life for the world's poorest people by 2015.
- The year 2007 marks the mid-point to the Millennium Development Goals deadline of 2015.
- The UN Millennium Development Goals include the goal of reducing by 1/2 the proportion of people that live on less than
$1 per day, & cutting in half the proportion of people suffering from hunger and unable to access safe drinking water and sanitation.
REQUIREMENT TO DEVELOP COMPREHENSIVE STRATEGY: The US Government shall develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to further the US foreign policy objective of promoting the reduction of global poverty, the elimination of extreme global poverty, and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal of reducing by 1/2 the proportion of people worldwide who live on less than $1 per day. The strategy shall include specific and measurable goals, efforts to be undertaken, benchmarks, and timetables to achieve the objectives.
Source: Global Poverty Act (S.2433/H.R.1302) 2007-S2433 on Dec 7, 2007
Public jobs on community-based public interest projects.
Watson 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.
Reduce the concentration of wealth & wage inequality.
Watson adopted the Progressive Caucus Position Paper:
Economic inequality is the result of two and a half decades of government policies and rules governing the economy being tilted in favor of large asset owners at the expense of wage earners. Tax policy, trade policy, monetary policy, government regulations and other rules have reflected this pro-investor bias. We propose the introduction or reintroduction of a package of legislative initiatives that will close America’s economic divide and address both income and wealth disparities.
The Progressive Caucus could take the lead in the formation of a national leadership steering committee to put this dramatic issue before the public through coordinated media campaigns and local education and action forums. The political program should be concerned with: After a decade of economic prosperity, the moral question remains: if we can’t address the persistent economic divide in our nation today, when can we?
Source: CPC Position Paper: Income Inequality 99-CPC3 on Nov 11, 1999
- Reducing wage inequality: We are proposing initiatives to both raise the minimum wage floor and prevent the tax code from subsidizing excessive compensation.
- Asset-building initiatives:
The government has historically given land to citizens. Unfortunately, the programs were discriminatory toward people of color and kept a whole generation of people off the asset-building train. We are proposing a universal asset building approach that will dramatically reduce the number of “asset less” households and reduce the disparity of wealth for all Americans.
- Addressing the over concentration of wealth and power: The concentration of wealth is a problem because it distorts our democracy, destabilizes the economy and erodes our at our social and cultural fabric. Too much concentrated wealth leads to too much concentrated power and begins to undermine our participatory democracy.
Page last updated: Sep 14, 2010