tv [untitled] May 7, 2012 4:30pm-5:00pm EDT
think that the deficit is a real problem in this nation. and we are absolutely willing to be reasonable. we expect it to be a balanced approach. we have offered cuts, suggested spending cuts. we have made some of them. and some of them are tough choices in a tough fiscal situation. and so in order to fund the -- i was on the conference committee, ranking member. we were on the conference committee, where we moved ahead on the 2% payroll tax cut for 160 million americans, and i think we did use the $5 million from this prevention fund. so we were willing, even though it's something we really care about, to make a cut. and the fact is, if we could reach some more agreement with the other side of the aisle, where they would actually see a balanced way forward, spending cuts, we've already agreed to go ahead with $2 trillion in spending cuts. the issue before us today is how we're going to do those spending cuts. who is going to contribute to the deficit reduction.
we've already agreed that it is not a good idea to keep borrowing all this money from foreign nations, that we should reduce the deficit, and that we should do it in a balanced way, and that every expert has said that you cannot get where we have to get to without a balanced approach. that we can't do it just with spending cuts. the chairman just himself suggested that this is a little bit of money. it's not going to get us there. that there's a lot more money out there. so we would say that we're willing to make some tough choices, we're willing to do the spending cuts. let's do it in a smart and balanced way. so we did not suggest that we would eliminate prevention and public health fund that we're talking about today. so that's the first charge. we are willing to make a reasonable cut, but not eliminate the whole thing, because it's just too important to -- in so many ways. second, it was suggested that money was used in nashville, tennessee, in a way that was
inappropriate. and my understanding, is, in fact, the money that the lady from nashville was talking about, and i'm sure she knows this, was actually not from the federal dollars. that the dollars were from are a private pet smart charities fund, that went through the nashville humane society. that's what has been reported in the papers, that the same organization that took the funds for that program also took funds from the federal government, they applied for, for an anti obesity program. that they actually do a variety of work in the nashville community. and i'm sure i could get that information to the good lady from nashville. and if she doesn't know this organization, it's called -- this program is called community putting preventions to work. i'm sure i would be happy to give her the information so she could check this out personally. but that is the report. so it is really completely not true that these federal dollars were used in the way that was suggested. so let me be absolutely clear, that these are dollars that are being used -- it's not a lot of
dollars. we all agree on that. but these are dollars that are being used in smart ways to make sure that we can find out what are the best ways that we do prevention. that we do get -- provide primary care. that we provide the best learning experience to know what works in prevention and public health. public health has provided the greatest savings over the many, many decades as we have used them. vaccines and screenings that find medical problems early, that help both children and our seniors to be able to live the fullest lives that they can. that prevent cancer from spreading or catching it early. these are not small things for the people that it affects. so you can say maybe it's not important. but understand the choice the republicans are asking or saying they are making here. is that they want to protect tax loopholes that exist for our biggest corporations. some of which actually provide
taxpayer subsidies for sending our jobs overseas, instead of eliminating them. just a few of them, even. we're talking about $10 billion here. and protecting access to prevention and public health services, they're saying, you know what, nope, i would rather actually reduce those prevention and health screenings. they all find it somewhere else. although just catch that cancer a little bit later. or maybe that child won't get a hearing aid when they might. or someone who actually might be able to get their chronic disease taken care of in the right way, by a primary care practitioner, a nurse practitioner or doctor, who has been trained with these dollars. nope. let's forget that. let's, in fact, protect those largest corporations. i don't think that's the choice americans would want us to make, and i yield back. >> the question is on agreeing to the amendment offer by the gentle lady from pennsylvania. all those in favor say aye. those no? in the opinion of the chair, the nos have it. roll call vote is recorded. clerk will call the roll.
>> mr. garrett. >> no. >> mr. simpson. >> no. >> mr. campbell. >> no. >> mr. calvert. >> no. >> mr. aitkin. >> mr. cole. >> no. >> dr. price. >> mr. mcclintock. >> no. >> mr. chaffetz. >> no. >> mr. sutsman. >> no. >> mr. lank ford. >> no. >> ms. black. >> no. >> mr. ribl. >> no. >> mr. flores. >> no. >> mr. mulvaney. >> no. >> mr. hallscamp. mr. young. >> no. >> mr. omash. >> no.
mr. owe competa. >> no. >> mr. begin at that. >> no. >> mr. woodall. >> no. >> mr. aitkin. >> no. >> mr. van hollen. aye. ms. schwartz. >> aye. >> ms. kaptur. >> aye. >> mr. dogget. >> aye. >> mr. bloomen our. ms. mccullum. >> aye. >> mr. yar mouth. >> aye. >> mr. pass carell. mr. honda. mr. ryan. >> aye. >> ms. wasserman schultz. >> aye.
>> ms. moore. ms. castor. >> aye. >> mr. shuler. >> aye. >> ms. bass. >> aye. >> ms. upon meechy. >> aye. >> mr. hallscamp. >> no. >> mr. chairman. >> no. >> mr. chairman, on that vote, the ayes are 12, the nos are 21. >> the nos have it. the motion is not agreed to. are there any further motions? >> mr. chairman, i have a motion. >> mr. dogget, the clerk will report. excuse me. i'm ready to get to the vote. the clerk will receive the motion and the staff will tribute copies. >> a motion offered by mr. doggette. rejecting the elimination of the
social securities block grant while ending taxpayer subsidies for big oil. >> the gentleman is recognized for 25 minutes. >> i thank the chairman, and i yield myself such time as i may consume. mr. chairman, from you and our republican colleagues, we've heard much already today about the desirability of leaving more of these decisions to the states, and seeking main street solutions rather than washington solutions. well, this motion deals with a attempt to give the states more responsibility in the area of social services, an attempt, in fact, that was signed into law by one ronald reagan. it is a program that is enjoyed through the years, bipartisan support. it has been renewed without heavy ideological debate as a way to assist the states in meeting their responsibilities to many of our most vulnerable citizens. now at a time that republicans are telling us we need to block
grant medicaid, some are even saying we need to block grant social security. we are told that this particular block grant program signed into law by president reagan should be ael abolished. it is part of the same thinking that when republicans tell us that something should be reformed, they usually mean repealed, as with repeal and replace, where there is no replacement that has been advanced over the course of the last year-and-a-half. specifically with the social security -- social services block grant program, i can't say that all of the criticism of the concept of block grants is misplaced. i found at times that these block grant programs go to block-headed governors that don't make effective use of the resources that they get from the federal government, or mainly use these block grants to claim credit for funding programs that
they did not provide the tax dollars for, but that were raised in a totally different place. but i think in looking at block grant programs, and they were -- this particular one was criticized in the ways and means hearing, solely on the basis that the estate program didn't have enough standards to it. in other words, it didn't have enough washington restrictions on main street solutions. well, there may be a merit to having some additional standards apply to this block grant. it may even be that this block grant is not the highest priority in our government funding. but my concern is that at a time when the states are making significant cutbackses in all of their social services, the question is not whether this is the very best way to do it. but whether or not there are some americans who will suffer dramatically if this block grant program that followed the same
concept that is being advocated today for medicaid -- if this block grant program is terminated. which is what this motion would prevent and what the reconciliation bill we have up today would do. let me talk a little about how this social services block grant without many standards, giving the states flexibility to allocate these dollars as they choose to do so in the social service area is utilized in texas. texas and austin and san antonio and other parts of the state relies heavily on this program to fund the meals on wheels program. sharon bowman, who heads the christian senior services program in san antonio says that in that county, a large number of the people that they serve are veterans, or the spouse of a veteran. that these are people that have served their country, paid their taxes and lived productive lives. and it really -- as she said to
me, it really isn't asking so much to make sure that they receive at least one healthy meal every day. it is that funding that would be eliminated if this motion is not adopted. michael goldstein at meals and wheels and more in austin says that these cuts would be absolutely devastating to the people that they serve. they would be devastating to budgets, because of the tremendous cost of placing seniors in nursing homes, because they cannot live independently when they lose their meal, a critical part of that. one person who benefits directly is my neighbor, mary simpson. she says people like me who live on social security don't have a lot of money. meals on wheels helps out so much, especially when everything is so costly. even buying a loaf of bread and lunch meet meat is difficult for me, but with meals on wheels, at least i know i get one good meal a day.
it is that type of program that will be seriously compromised, indeed, in the words of the director who relies on these funds, absolutely devastated if this block grant is terminated, contrary to the ideology being advanced today, but the practice of eliminating the social security -- social services block grant. of course, some other states have chosen to use their moneys through this block grant in different ways. in new york, for example, funds are used by adult protective services. in the california, the focus is on special services to individuals with disabilities. we have heard from a wide range of groups across the country, groups like catholic charities and easter seals, the arc, the children's defense fund, about what will happen at a time that so many states are making cut backs or seriously impairing social services if on top of
that this social services block grant is axed as well. the kind of person that the arc serves, for example. and it is important that we're not just talking about billions of dollars here. we are talking about individual lives. jenny is a 52-year-old woman who grew up in a state institution. she was discharged into the community in the 1980s with no training, no family, no support and no income. the arc found her a place to live. a volunteer to take her to the doctor and teach her how to ride the bus. and they got her signed up for doctors' appointments and therapies. that's the kind of service that this social services block grant is going to pay for. and is jenny is the kind of person you can talk about duplication, you can talk about efficiency, it's jenny who is being asked to pay for the
abolition of this program. and donned old, a 30-year-old man with significant mental and physical disabilities. his mother died when he was in his 50s, and his siblings are not caring for him. he's in danger of being institutionalized. it is the service that he's provided through these funds that make a difference in his life. i think it is a life worth protecting. as is this social services block grant program. we will see many abused children in some states adversely affected with cuts that have already been made in child and protective services, a number of people wrote me in my role as the ranking member of the human resources subcommittee to tell me about what the effect would be in their state on abused children if these dollars are lost. these are real, life human beings who will suffer directly if these resources are not there. and i know my colleague, ms.
bonmeechy, is very familiar with the impact this would have, especially in the pacific northwest, and i invite her to offer her comments over the next five minutes. >> thank you. i thank my colleague, mr. doggette, for yielding, and i'm proud to offer this motion with him. about a month ago, this committee met to consider the chairman's budget resolution, and we had budget resolution and we had some similar discussions and today the committee is proposing to double down on the misguided evidence, while staunchly defending tax breaks and loopholes that benefit the wealthy. we have an opportunity here today to have a frank discussion about deficit reduction which i all know we want to do. but i'm afraid that we're missing the opportunity. the motion that i'm offering with my colleague from texas, will allow all of us to come together to save a program that's traditionally enjoyed
bipartisan support. the social services block grant has been slated for elimination. not tweaks, elimination. under the language reported by the weighs and means committee. this is the very program that serves 1.7 million older americans, disabled individuals and at-risk children. some of us were surprised by the cuts included in the resolution and now we're back to consider these res -- often abused children and programs like meals on wheels that my colleague just described. support ters of this proposal claim they're duplicative. but the services provided as a result of the funds shows clearly that these dollars provide critical support to some of the most vulnerable in our
communities. and in fact even if these dollars, there's still unmet nooet need. in my kate of oregon, they're used for child protective services and residential treatment programs, in fact in oregon, all of the services funded by our block grant dollars are targeted to children and it's estimated that in this fiscal year alone, more than 50,000 children will be served as a result of the block grant dollars that we receive. i know many of you use it for meals on wheels. i really wish that all of you, before you vote on this motion, could do something that i have done. and that's deliver meals on wheels to rural seniors. now, i tell you, when you're delivering meals to people, that really makes a difference. because for many seniors, that small but very important box is the only meal that they're going to get that day.
and importantly, the person delivering the meal may be the only person they see that day. i think if you had an opportunity to do that and look into the eyes of some of the people who are relying on those food boxes, i think you would support this motion. and i served in the oregon legislature and i'm keenly aware of the difficult decisions that state officials are faced with. a loss of these block grant dollars would have a significant impact on the state's ability to deliver these critical services to a population that's among the most vulnerable in our society. our children and in many states our seniors. now, many states are not in the position to make up for the elimination of these dallas. so what's going to happen to these at-risk children, to these seniors who are hungry? and to add an additional layer of concern here, the proposal to eliminate these dollars comes from the weighs and means
committee, a commit 3450e that has jurisdiction over a trillion dollars. this committee decided to target the social service block grant dollars for elimination. surely there's a more reasonable way to achieve the deficit reduction figures required under the budget control act. by repeeling subsidies for big oil companies we can achieve a greater savings, reduce the deficit even further while ensuring we're not snakting more cuts that will put the vulnerable at risk. i urge my colleagues to join with us and support the motion in order to maintain the social service block grant program, a program that's vital to states, to many of the most vulnerable in our own communities. and i yield back to my colleague. >> i am about to yield to the ranking member, but my colleague
remind me that it's important to point out on this motion, that every dollar for these services, for meals on wheels, for the 39 states that rely on these funds to deal with abused and negotiated children, every one of these dollars is paid for in this motion. the notion that exxon and chevron are being overtaxed is absolute nonsense. i dislike exxon and chevron to pay the same tax rate that leo's philip 66 on airport where i get my car service the, that they pay. i'd like them to pay the same rate that the people who clean up the cooperate board room pay. they have gotten special tax breaks, not because they're merited, but because they have the lobbying and political power to demand treatment that does
not apply to any other industry in washington. and we say through this motion, if you have to choose between exxon and jennie, let's choose jennie. i yield to the gentleman, three minutes. >> i thank my colleagues for offering this very important amendment. i want to emphasize one point that mr. doggett made earlier, which is we have heard constantly from our republican colleagues on this committee that it's very important to provide block grants with no strings attached, with maximum flexibility. the social services block grant is exactly that kind of thing. it's designed to provide local jurisdictions and states with the flexibility to provide essential services. you've heard about some of those essential services. child care services for lower income women so they can in fact
take advantage of the job opportunity without having their kid stranded at home. i would think that's something that we would all support. programs to make sure that kids who are abused get the support and help and protection they need from child services. meals on wheels. but these are all things that local jurisdictions can use these funds for. i would just go back to quote the current chairman of the weighs and means committee, our friend dave camp, who back in 2003 fought off an effort to just cut -- not eliminate, just cut the social services block grant and i quote, the social services block grant has been a key source of flexible funding for critical social services, unquote. and that a, a cut in ssbg has
forced social service providers to discontinue services, layoff staff and reduce help to vulnerable families, end of quote. that's the chairman of the weighs and means committee. the weighs and means committee of course sent us this poe poefl. but i do find it very bizarre that having talked about the importance of flexible funding so that we can provide essential services, we now see this target d. and it suggests that once you turn medicaid into a block grant program or that you turn food and nutrition programs into a block grant program, once the federal government has no direct influence and impact, we're just going to cut those as well. so i think that this amendment is important in sort of laying out some of the clear, i have to say inconsistencies that we keep hearing from many of our colleagues. and the last point i want to emphasize is the point that mr.
doggett made regarding that the fact that it's made for in the choices that we make. again, i join the chairman, mr. doggett in saying, it's strange how we had testimony from the chairman of the major oil companies just a few years ago testifying before the united states congress that they didn't need these subsidies as an incentive to drill. and oil prices have only gone up since then of the and so what we're proposing doesn't add one penny to the deficit. we're simply saying make sure the social services are available and ask the 0i8 companies to chip in a little more. >> i yield four minutes to our colleague from california miss bass. >> i want to thank the gentlemen. on behalf of almost half a
million children in the foster care system, i strongly support the motion rejecting the elimination of the social services block grant. each may is foster care month. it provides an opportunity to shine the light on the experiences of the more than 400,000 children and the thousands of dedicated families and the social workers who support them. and this may the advocates who support the youth, are youthed in the elimination of the block grant. within the complex system of federal, state and local child welfare financing, ssbg funds play a critical role in supplementing other more restrictive fundal welfare extreme such as title 4 e. and one of the things that research has shown over the years is that you can prevent thousands of children from entering the foster care system,
period, if you provide services to address a family crisis up front. the flexibility provided by ssbg funds aloes this flexibility to take place, which, over the long haul, saves money for taxpayers. 13% of these funds are dedicated specifically to foster care services. 36 states spend a total of $133 million from ssbg for foster care services for children, typically 454,000 children in a given year. my home state of california, which oversees the largest foster care system in the nation, accounts for 17% of total foster care expenditures from ssbg. and california is faced with a large budget shortfall and is in no position to replace the funds they would lose if congress eliminated the ssbg funding.
it will create a significant gap in foster care funding for children who cannot be cared for in their own homes and need to be placed in foster care or provided the up-front preventative services to prevent them from entering in the first place. wail fair system cannot afford these cuts and should not have to shoulder the burden of deficit reduction. i urge my colleagues to support the motion and i yield back the balance of my time. let me just add on that last point that the gentlewoman made,
those 400 thousand police children are directly affected by this. the states are making cutbacks and if these funds are not available, it is those children who will pay the price. there are some 39 states that rely on these funds for child abuse and neglect prevention. i also think that a big emphasis with this block grant in many states is on independence. it's not only about the independence of the states being able to select how they want to use the resources, but it's about the independence of the individuals, whether it is a senior who gets one of those rural meals on wheels that our colleague morgan was talking about, or it's an individual with disabilities who needs additional assistance, are or she, to be able to live independently of institutionalized care. we all know as well in our