Summary: S.1786 — 108th Congress (2003-2004)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed Senate amended (02/12/2004)

(This measure has not been amended since it was reported to the Senate on November 24, 2003. The summary of that version is repeated here.)

Poverty Reduction and Prevention Act - Title I: Community Services Block Grant Act - (Sec. 101) Amends the Community Services Block Grant Act to revise community services block grant (CSBG) program purposes and goals to include a focus on reducing poverty and expanding opportunities for individuals and families to become economically self-sufficient.

(Sec. 102) Revises the poverty line determination so that 125 percent of the Federal poverty line is the minimum level a State can set as its maximum eligibility requirement and 60 percent of State median income is the maximum level a State can set as its maximum eligibility requirement.

(Sec. 103) Authorizes CSBG appropriations through FY 2009.

(Sec. 104) Provides that grants to States shall be for ameliorating the causes of poverty and the conditions caused by poverty.

(Sec. 105) Revises fund use provisions. Stipulates that States should use funds for: (1) managerial and program training and technical assistance; (2) statewide coordination and communication among eligible entities and State-operated or supported programs and services and other locally-operated programs and services targeted to low-income individuals and families; (3) supporting innovative partnerships, programs, and activities conducted by Community Action Agencies and their partners; (4) targeted funding; (5) supporting State charity tax credits; (6) identification of exemplary entities as Centers of Innovation; and (7) development of eligible entities' partnerships with local law enforcement agencies, local housing authorities, private foundations and other public and private partners.

(Sec. 106) Revises application and plan provisions.

(Sec. 107) Provides that in designating eligible entities in underserved areas, a State shall deem private nonprofit eligible entities that are providing related services in an unserved area to be of demonstrated effectiveness, consistent with the needs identified by a community needs assessment.

(Sec. 108) States that tripartite boards shall be the mechanism for determining consideration of eligible entities.

(Sec. 109) Revises training and technical assistance provisions. Requires that training funds are to be used for development of a common State financial and organizational protocol.

(Sec. 110) Requires States to conduct full onsite biennial reviews of eligible entities, and follow-up annual reviews.

Directs States, beginning in FY 2006, to implement a financial and organizational assessment protocol to monitor the financial and administrative compliance of eligible entities. Directs that such protocol be developed jointly by the States and eligible entities.

(Sec. 111) Revises corrective and termination provisions. Continues an eligible entity's funding while the Secretary of Health and Human Services approves or disapproves a reduction or termination of funding.

(Sec. 112) Requires States to submit to the Secretary: (1) separate CSBG audits; and (2) financial reports every six months. Directs the Secretary to withhold funds for State noncompliance, and authorizes the Secretary to provide funds directly to eligible entities in such State.

(Sec. 113) Requires: (1) State and eligible entities to participate in a performance measurement system, which may also include subcontracting local agencies; and (2) the Secretary, with State and eligible entity consultation, to establish performance standards for State administration of CSBG funds; and (3) annual State reports.

Requires eligible entity annual CSBG plans to include goals for: (1) leveraging community resources; (2) coordinating Federal, State, and local assistance; and (3) promoting community involvement.

Directs the Secretary to: (1) coordinate and consolidate eligible entity reporting; and (2) establish CSBG funding and monitoring performance measurements for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Obligates specified funds for the Secretary's annual CSBG report.

(Sec. 114) Includes "religion" among the prohibited categories of CSBG exclusion.

(Sec. 116) Revises the Secretary's discretionary authority respecting grants for: (1) community economic development; (2) rural community development; and (3) neighborhood innovation projects.

(Sec. 117) Authorizes appropriations for community food and nutrition programs through FY 2009.

(Sec. 118) Authorizes appropriations for national or regional programs to provide instructional activities to low-income youth through FY 2009.

Title II: Low-Income Home Energy Assistance - Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Amendments of 2004 - (Sec. 202) Amends the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Act of 1981 to authorize appropriations for the low-income home energy assistance program and the incentive program for leveraging non-Federal resources through FY 2010.

(Sec. 203) Establishes extreme weather- and energy cost-based triggers for the release of emergency funds.

(Sec. 204) Directs the Comptroller General to evaluate and report on the Residential Energy Assistance Challenge program.

(Sec. 205) Directs the Secretary to conduct a study and report on the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Act of 1981. Authorizes FY 2004 and 2005 appropriations for such purpose.

Title III: Assets for Independence Reauthorization Act - Assets for Independence Reauthorization Act - (Sec. 302) Amends the Assets for Independence Act respecting the assets for independence programs to: (1) revise the definition of "qualified expense"; (2) define "qualified education purchase plan"; (3) permit individual development accountholders to save in a postsecondary education account for their children or dependents; (4) repeal the provision permitting grandfathering of statewide programs; (5) permit up to 20 percent of non-Federal funds to be used by grantees for program and operating costs; (6) expand income eligibility criteria; (7) revise eligible entity deposit provisions; and (8) authorize appropriations through FY 2008.