|1:46 PM EDT||
Lloyd Doggett, D-TX 25th
Mr. DOGGETT. I yield myself the balance of my time.
Mr. Speaker, some in this House have suggested earlier in the year that the programs embodied in this legislation, and everything else that opens opportunities through government support from Pell Grants to Title I funding for education to the school lunch program to Head Start, that all of these are ``welfare'' and should be cut. Fortunately, that approach is not being taken here today. We are reauthorizing, in a bipartisan way, these two very important programs that would expire next week.
Mr. Speaker, however, it should be noted that, much like somebody might be flatlined, we are flat funding the renewal of these programs, meaning that in 5 years we are authorizing the same amount of money for these programs, if it can be appropriated, that existed last year. That means that there are many needs in our country that will not be fully addressed in this legislation. It means that last year, if less than half of those in foster care received support for food and board, they will be
in the same situation over the course of this legislation. It means that the 40 percent of children who are subject to abuse and neglect are unlikely to be able to access services as they were last year.
But renewing this legislation remains, despite those deficiencies, an important accomplishment in the current political environment. And, as Mr. Davis and a number of other speakers have noted, we have made some modest improvements.
Another of those not touched on yet is our work in this legislation to ensure that children in foster care can stay in the schools that they started in, even though they may be moved between families. That's an important part of adding a little certainty to the lives of children who have been abused or neglected and find themselves with a great deal of uncertainty.
It is for the improvements in this act and the recognition of what harm would be done if this act were not adopted here in a bipartisan way that so many child advocacy groups have joined in supporting it--the Child Welfare League of America, First Focus, Zero to Three--as well as groups of those organizations that are involved in administering some of these funds: the National Conference of State Legislatures, the American Public Human Services Association, and the Conference of State Court Administrators.
I believe this legislation is important. It's important to get it adopted promptly. I hope the Senate will respond to our bipartisan approval today, as Mr. Davis has suggested they have already begun to do in the committee process, and move forward to see it fully adopted by next week. I urge all of my colleagues to join in supporting this legislation, and I yield back the balance of my time.