Summary: H.R.2258 — 102nd Congress (1991-1992)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.2258. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (05/08/1991)

Freedom from Want Act - Title I: Domestic Assistance Programs - Part A: Nutrition, Education, and Health Care - Expresses the sense of the Congress that it should make a commitment to increasing participation in the special supplemental food program for women, infants, and children (the WIC program) by 20 percent in each of FY 1992 through 1996, so that the goal of full participation may be reached by the end of FY 1996.

Expresses the sense of the Congress that the Head Start Act should be fully funded so that the goal of participation of all eligible three- and four-year-old children in Head Start programs can be achieved by FY 1994.

Amends the Older Americans Act of 1965 to increase the reimbursement provided by the Department of Agriculture for congregate and home-delivered meals for older Americans to 65.66 cents in FY 1992, with adjustments for inflation in FY 1993 and 1994.

Amends the Public Health Service Act to direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to undertake a Children's Vaccine Initiative, for research, development, testing, and evaluation of children's vaccines, and for assisting in delivery of such vaccines in the United States and throughout the world. Directs the Secretary of HHS to consult with the World Health Organization and the United Nation's Children's Fund in organizing such Initiative. Requires the Director of the National Vaccine Program to plan and coordinate such Initiative, and ensure that the Public Health Service conducts activities under the Initiative in collaboration with nongovernment institutions and other Federal agencies. Authorizes appropriations.

Directs the Secretary of Agriculture to ensure that rules issued under the Federal Meat Inspection Act that impose labeling standards for any meat or meat food product sold or offered for sale in commerce also impose equivalent labeling standards for meat or meat food products distributed by the Department of Agriculture through domestic commodity food assistance programs.

Part B: Individual Development Account Demonstration - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow a deduction for payments (other than certain assistance from an organization of a demonstration project under this part) made by or on behalf of eligible individuals to an individual development account (IDA) to accumulate funds to pay the following qualified expenses: (1) postsecondary education expenses; (2) first-home purchase; (3) business capitalization; (4) retirement expenses; and (5) transfers to an IDA of the individual's spouse or dependent. Sets forth requirements relating to such IDAs.

Establishes five-year IDA demonstration projects to determine: (1) the social, psychological, and economic effects of providing to individuals with limited means an opportunity to accumulate assets; and (2) the extent to which an asset-based welfare policy may be used to enable individuals with low income to achieve economic self-sufficiency. Allows any organization to apply to the Secretary of the Treasury for grants to conduct such a project. Requires each organization authorized to conduct such a project to establish a Reserve Fund drawn from investments, public and private funds, and IDA penalty amounts. Requires the organization to use Reserve Fund amounts to: (1) assist project participants in obtaining skills and information to achieve economic self-sufficiency through activities requiring IDA qualified expenses; (2) provide financial assistance to the IDAs of individuals selected by the organization to participate in the project; (3) administer the project; and (4) provide the organization evaluating the project with necessary information. Directs the organization to invest Reserve Fund amounts that are not immediately needed to carry out such project fund uses. Limits the administrative expenses. Requires that unused Federal grant funds be transferred to the Secretary when the project terminates.

Makes eligible for IDA demonstration project assistance any individual who is a member of a household with: (1) a household income for the immediately preceding calendar year of not more th an 200 percent of the poverty threshold; and (2) a household net worth, as of the close of such year, of not more than $20,000. Directs the project organization to select individuals whom the organization deems suited to receive such assistance. Sets forth a table for organization contributions to an individual's IDA, based on: (1) the individual income for the applicable period, as a percentage of the poverty threshold; and (2) matched with the lesser of either a specified percentage of the qualified savings of the individual for the period, or a specified dollar amount. Provides for a greater organization contribution for individuals with lower incomes.

Requires local control over demonstration projects by giving the organization sole authority over project administration, and allowing the Secretary of the Treasury to prescribe only regulations that are necessary to ensure compliance with approved applications and this Act.

Requires each project organization to prepare ten semiannual progress reports for an oversight panel, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Treasurer (or equivalent official) of the State in which the project is conducted.

Directs the Secretary of the Treasury to establish an oversight panel for such demonstration projects.

Authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to revoke the original authorization for a demonstration project upon receipt of a notice that the project has failed to implement the oversight panel's recommendations. Sets forth required revocation actions and procedures.

Requires the oversight panel to enter into a contract with an independent research organization to evaluate the IDA demonstration projects, individually and as a group, addressing specified questions.

Authorizes appropriations for IDA demonstration projects.

Requires that funds in the IDAs of demonstration project participants to be disregarded for purposes of all means-tested Federal programs.

Part C: Microenterprise Programs - Amends the Social Security Act to include microenterprise training programs under the JOBS program under provisions for aid to families with dependent children (AFDC). Requires adjustment of performance standards for microenterprises to take account of the time required for their establishment.

Provides for limited exclusions of microenterprise resources and income under the AFDC program.

Defines a microenterprise as a commercial enterprise which has five or fewer employees, one or more of whom owns the enterprise; and (2) none of the owners of which has income exceeding 200 percent of the poverty threshold.

Authorizes States to waive Federal AFDC requirements with respect to participants in State-approved microenterpise programs. Provides that participation in such State-approved microenterprise programs shall not affect the participants' means-tested Federal benefits.

Amends the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act to make microenterprises eligible for rural development loans and grants. Expresses the sense of the Congress that one percent of funds for specified types of rural development assistance should be reserved for certain purposes relating to microenterprises.

Amends the Housing and Community Development Act to make microenterprises eligible for assistance under community development block grants. Provides that certain assisted activities relating to microenterprises shall be considered to benefit persons of low and moderate income. Expresses the sense of the Congress that each grantee under the community development block grant program should reserve one percent of any grant received to provide assistance to facilitate commercial economic development through microenterprises.

Amends the Small Business Act to express the sense of the Congress that: (1) one percent of specified funds for small business loans should be reserved for specified purposes relating to microenterprises; and (2) the Small Business Administrator should take such other necessary actions to maximize participation by microenterprises in programs under such Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958. Provides for small business loans for microenterprises.

Amends the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) to authorize the use of funds for training activities with respect to microenterprises. Directs the State Governor to adjust performance standards relating to microenterprises to reflect the time required to establish and develop a stable income from such an enterprise as participants seek to achieve economic self-sufficiency.

Provides for JTPA microenterprise grants. Directs the Secretary of Labor, from specified funds for FY 1992 through 1996, to make grants in limited amounts to not more than ten States per year to implement and enhance community-based microenterprise activities. Requires State matching funds and annual reports. Authorizes appropriations for such microenterprise grants.

Part D: Increasing the Food Purchasing Power of Low-Income Households - Authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to make grants to up to 20 nonprofit community-based organizations to carry out food retailing development projects to: (1) increase the access of individuals residing in communities underserved by supermarkets to more affordable and quality food; and (2) strengthen the operation of existing food retail stores in underserved communities by providing such stores with services that lower costs, improve management, and increase the quality and nutritional value of food inventories. Sets forth priorities in selecting grantees. Sets forth requirements for grant expenditures. Authorizes appropriations for such food retailing development program.

Authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to make grants to up to ten eligible entities to carry out a food stamp and producer direct marketing demonstration project to: (1) increase retail marketing opportunities for local agricultural producers through farmers markets, roadside stands, and other means; (2) increase the access to and consumption of fresh, perishable agricultural commodities by low-income individuals; (3) identify and implement successful strategies to increase the number of agricultural producers certified to redeem food stamp coupons in exchange for commodities sold directly to coupon recipients; and (4) increase the number of food stamp recipients who use such coupons to purchase such commodities from agricultural producers. Sets forth requirements for grant expenditures. Defines an eligible entity as a community-based organization with strong ties to both the farming community and to an anti-hunger organization. Authorizes appropriations for such food stamp and producer direct marketing demonstration program.

Amends the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 to revise WIC farmers' market demonstration programs. Increases from ten to 20 the number of States allowed to provide WIC participants with coupons to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables from farmers markets. Sets forth requirements for program reports and review. Authorizes appropriations.

Part E: Assessing Food Security within Communities - Amends the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 to provide for regional centers for community food security. Directs the Secretary of Agriculture, through the Federal Extension Service, to make competitive grants to seven land grant colleges and universities to establish seven regional centers for community food security, with one of them designated to serve as a coordinating center. Sets forth requirements for selection of recipients, use of grants, prohibited uses, term of grants, performance evaluations, and annual reports. Defines food security as the ability of all people at all times to purchase or receive from usual food sources enough nutritionally adequate food for an active and healthy life.

Part F: Findings Regarding Communities Making the Transition to Hunger-Free Status - Expresses the sense of the Congress regarding criteria for communities making the transition to food secure status.

Part G: Infant Mortality Reduction - Subpart 1: Low Birthweight and Infant Mortality - Establishes within the Department of Health and Human Services a program to make grants to States, municipalities, and nonprofit organizations to establish demonstration projects to reduce infant mortality by reducing the incidence of low birthweight births in high-risk communities. Sets forth grant application requirements and preferences in awards. Directs the Secretary of HHS to: (1) establish an Infant Mortality Advisory Panel; and (2) evaluate such projects and provide technical assistance to grantees. Requires annual reports from grantees. Limits project duration to three years. Authorizes appropriations.

Subpart 2: Breast Feeding and Infant Morbidity and Mortality Study - Directs the Secretary of HHS to establish a program to award grants to conduct studies of the impact of breastfeeding on infant mortality and morbidity in certain high-risk populations. Authorizes appropriations for each fiscal year for conducting such study.

Part H: Amendments to the Food Stamp Act of 1977 - Mickey Leland Childhood Hunger Relief Act - Subpart 1: General Provisions - Sets forth general provisions.

Subpart 2: Ensuring Adequate Food Assistance - Amends the Food Stamp Act of 1977 to remove the excess shelter deduction cap for purposes of food stamp program (program) eligibility. (Sets forth transitional caps through FY 1995.)

Requires the Secretary of Agriculture to adjust the basic benefit level upwards by specified increments at the beginning of each fiscal year until it reaches 105 percent of the cost of the thrifty food plan.

Eliminates food stamp reductions for households reapplying for program reinstatement within 30 days.

Excludes third party payments for transitional housing for the homeless from consideration as program income.

Increases funding for the nutrition assistance program in Puerto Rico.

Excludes general assistance vendor payments from consideration as program income.

Subpart 3: Promoting Self-Sufficiency - Excludes from consideration as program income: (1) the first $50 a month received as child support; and (2) child support payments to non-household members.

Increases annually the fair market value limit of vehicles that program recipients may own.

Excludes from financial resources the value of a vehicle a household depends upon to carry heating fuel or water for home use where it has no other access to fuel or water.

Increases dependent care deductions and participant and State agency reimbursements in connection with employment and training activities.

Subpart 4: Simplifying the Provision of Food Assistance - Permits related adults living in the same household to apply for separate program benefits under specified conditions.

Permits a participating family made up of, or including, an elderly or disabled member to own $300 in allowable financial resources. (Current law refers to a family member 60 years of age or older.)

Makes program authorization of appropriations permanent.

Subpart 5: Implementation and Effective Dates - Sets forth the effective dates for provisions of this Act.

Title II: International Programs - Part A: Food as a Human Right - Declares that the United States should: (1) make a major effort toward strengthening the right to food in international law; and (2) propose to the United Nations General Assembly that a Declaration and Convention on the Right to Food be adopted and submitted to countries for ratification.

Prohibits the provision of development assistance under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and the provision or financing of agricultural commodities under the Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act of 1954 for countries that engage in a consistent pattern of violations of internationally recognized rights to food and medical care.

Requires the United States to: (1) make a major effort toward reforming and restructuring the United Nations mechanism for responding to international disasters and humanitarian emergencies; and (2) evaluate the role of the United Nations Disaster Relief Organization and develop a proposal for strengthening the United Nations response to such emergencies.

Part B: Democratic Empowerment - Amends the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to authorize the President, acting through the administrator of the agency responsible for administering development assistance (administering agency), to provide assistance for eligible emerging democracies. Defines an "eligible emerging democracy" as a least developed country that is making a transition from an undemocratic to a democratic system of government. Lists authorized assistance as development and relief and rehabilitation assistance and assistance for child survival, maternal health, basic nutrition, and basic education. Waives provisions of law that prohibit or restrict assistance to countries in arrears or default on loan or credit payments owed to the United States with respect to assistance for eligible emerging democracies. Establishes a Fund for Democratic Empowerment to carry out such assistance program. Authorizes appropriations.

Part C: Children - Authorizes appropriations for FY 1992 and 1993 for U.S. contributions to the United Nations Children's Fund.

Amends the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to authorize appropriations for the Child Survival Fund for FY 1992 and 1993. Earmarks amounts of foreign assistance for activities that deal directly with the special health needs of children and mothers.

Requires the President, with respect to the provision of development assistance, to promote and undertake activities relating to research on, and the treatment and control of, acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) in developing countries. Designates such assistance as the International AIDS Prevention and Control Program.

Earmarks amounts of development assistance for FY 1992 and 1993 for the Vitamin A Deficiency Program and programs to eliminate iodine deficiency. Expresses the sense of the Congress that the United States should join in a comprehensive initiative to reduce micronutrient deficiencies from iron, as well as leading in the elimination of vitamin A and iodine deficiency.

Earmarks foreign assistance for basic education programs.

Directs the President to report annually to the Congress on U.S. contributions to the goals and strategies of the World Declaration on the Survival, Protection and Development of Children; the Plan of Action for Implementing the Declaration; the World Declaration on Education for All; and the Framework for Action to Meet Basic Learning Needs.

Part D: Women in Development - Removes a limitation on, and earmarks an amount of, assistance to promote the participation and integration of women in the development process in developing countries. Requires specified amounts of such assistance to be used to support the integration of women into programs of the administering agency and to support needs of such agency in administering the women in development policy.

Part E: Refugees - Authorizes appropriations for FY 1992 and 1993 for migration and refugee assistance, with earmarked funds for programs of refugee assistance overseas.

Expresses the sense of the Congress that other international donors should join with the United States in ensuring that refugee relief and rehabilitation efforts are adequately funded and supported.

Part F: Agriculture and the Environment - Requires agricultural development programs supported by the United States under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and in the multilateral development banks and International Monetary Fund (IMF) to incorporate principles of environmental sustainability.

Directs the Administrator of the Agency for International Development (AID) to establish specified environmental sustainability guidelines and standards to be applied to all agricultural development programs supported under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, bilateral agricultural projects, and, where appropriate, environmental projects supported under such Act. Requires the U.S. executive directors of the multilateral development banks and the IMF to seek the adoption of requirements comparable to such standards by their respective institutions.

Declares that AID should make a long-term commitment to research the ecological and socioeconomic components of sustainable agricultural development. Provides that research topics should include: (1) how traditional systems of agriculture respond to local ecological conditions and how such responses can be incorporated in agricultural development that aims to increase yields without degrading long-term productive potential or the ability to withstand ecological pressures; (2) the role of subsistence agriculture in meeting the nutritional needs of rural populations and the improvement of subsistence food production; and (3) the improvement of crops which comprise a substantial part of the diet of the poorest part of the population. Declares that the United States should encourage the Consultative Group on International Agriculture to incorporate such topics into its research priorities and to promote the application of research findings into project design and implementation.

States that AID should increase its support for agricultural research institutions that have demonstrated a capacity to contribute to sustainable agricultural development.

Directs the AID Administrator to report to the Congress on AID programs directed toward sustainability as a basis for agricultural assistance efforts.

Part G: World Bank and International Monetary Fund - Expresses the sense of the Congress that the Secretary of the Treasury should instruct the U.S. executive directors of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank), the International Development Association (Association), and the IMF to seek the establishment by their institutions of programs and policies to assist in the realization of the right to food.

Amends the International Financial Institutions Act to direct the Secretary of the Treasury to instruct: (1) the U.S. executive director of the Association to advocate, in the context of the Association's tenth replenishment, that at least 50 percent of the Association's loans go to countries that have developed a national development and poverty alleviation strategy; and (2) the U.S. executive directors of the World Bank and the IMF to urge such institutions to develop Policy Framework Papers (including sections on environmental goals) for borrowing countries.

Expresses the sense of the Congress that the World Bank and the Association should: (1) give greater programmatic and budgetary priority to child survival and development; and (2) commit to devoting at least five percent of the annual lending programs to primary health and five percent to basic education.

Directs the Secretary to instruct the U.S. executive directors of the World Bank and the Association to urge such institutions to: (1) promote environmental sustainability as a guiding principle in agricultural development projects; (2) emphasize food-based policies in agriculture by increasing funding for research focusing on improving foods which comprise a substantial portion of the diet of poor people; and (3) ensure that such projects target and integrate women.

Amends the Bretton Woods Agreements Act to direct the Secretary of the Treasury to instruct the U.S. executive director of the IMF to urge the IMF to ensure that IMF programs are designed to avoid any deterioration in the provision of social services for basic human needs and to maintain sustainable use of the environment.

Part H: Debt Relief - Amends the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to authorize the President to make certain debt relief authorities concerning relatively least developed countries with respect to which an IMF standby agreement or a World Bank or Association structural adjustment program or similar IMF program is in effect applicable to least developed countries pursuing specified national economic policy reforms, even if such an arrangement is not in effect.

Part I: Private and Voluntary Organizations - Increases the amount of funding for private and voluntary organizations under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961.