Peter Welch on Welfare & Poverty
Proponent's Argument for voting Yes:
Opponent's Argument for voting No:
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.
Congressional Summary: Transitional Housing for Recovery in Viable Environments Demonstration Program Act: This bill requires HUD to establish a five-year demonstration program to provide low-income rental-assistance vouchers to individuals recovering from an opioid or other substance-use disorder. Specifically, these vouchers shall be provided through a supportive housing program that provides treatment for such disorders and coordination with workforce development providers.
Statement in support by the Republican Policy Committee: This bill would set aside, out of approximately 2.2 million vouchers, the lesser of 10,000 Section 8 vouchers or .05% of all vouchers. In 2017, President Trump established the President's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. The Commission will be chaired by Governor Chris Christie and will study ways to combat and treat the scourge of the opioid crisis. The Commission noted, "There is a critical shortage of recovery housing for Americans in or pursuing recovery. Recovery residences (also known as 'sober homes') are alcohol- and drug-free living environments for individuals seeking the skills and social support to remain free of alcohol or other drugs."
Statement in opposition by National Low-Income Housing Coalition: The bill would lengthen affordable housing waiting lists for low income families, seniors, and people experiencing homelessness. Rep. Maxine Waters spoke against the bill [saying it] tries to help people suffering from substance-use disorders, but that doing so requires more resources: "You cannot do this on the cheap. Rehabilitation costs money. We would be taking 10,000 vouchers from those who have been waiting in line for years."
Legislative outcome: Bill Passed House, 230-17-24 on June 14, 2018. No vote in Senate [died in committee].
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.
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