Text: H.Con.Res.438 — 109th Congress (2005-2006)All Information (Except Text)

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Referred in Senate (07/19/2006)

[Congressional Bills 109th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[H. Con. Res. 438 Referred in Senate (RFS)]

  2d Session
H. CON. RES. 438



                             July 19, 2006

           Received and referred to the Committee on Finance


                         CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

 Expressing the sense of the Congress that continuation of the welfare 
     reforms provided for in the Personal Responsibility and Work 
    Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 should remain a priority.

Whereas the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program established 
        by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act 
        of 1996 (Public Law 104-193) has succeeded in moving families from 
        welfare to work and reducing child poverty;
Whereas there has been a dramatic increase in the employment of current and 
        former welfare recipients;
Whereas the percentage of working recipients reached an all-time high in fiscal 
        year 1999 and held steady in fiscal years 2000 and 2001;
Whereas, in fiscal year 2004, 32 percent of adult recipients were counted as 
        meeting TANF work participation requirements, significantly above pre-
        reform levels;
Whereas earnings for welfare recipients remaining on the rolls also have 
        increased significantly, as have earnings for female-headed households;
Whereas single mothers, on average, earned $13.50 per hour in 2004, almost three 
        times the minimum wage;
Whereas the increases have been particularly large for the bottom 2 income 
        quintiles, that is, those women who are most likely to be former or 
        current welfare recipients;
Whereas welfare dependency has plummeted;
Whereas, as of September 2005, 1,887,855 families, including 4,443,170 
        individuals, were receiving TANF assistance, and accordingly, the number 
        of families in the welfare caseload and the number of individuals 
        receiving cash assistance declined 56 percent and 61 percent, 
        respectively, since the enactment of the TANF program;
Whereas, since the enactment of welfare reform, the number of children in the 
        United States has grown from 69,000,000 in 1995 to 73,000,000 in 2004, 
        which is an increase of 4,000,000, yet 1,400,000 fewer children were 
        living in poverty in 2004 than in 1995--a 14 percent decline in overall 
        child poverty;
Whereas the poverty rates for African-American and Hispanic children also have 
        declined remarkably--20 percent and 28 percent, respectively, since 
Whereas, as a Nation, we have made substantial progress in reducing teen 
        pregnancies and births, slowing increases in non-marital childbearing, 
        and improving child support collections and paternity establishment;
Whereas the birth rate to teenagers declined 30 percent from its high in 1991 to 
        2004. The 2004 teenage birth rate of 41.2 per 1,000 women aged 15 
        through 19 is the lowest recorded birth rate for teenagers since 1940;
Whereas, during the period from 1991 through 2001, teenage birth rates fell in 
        all States and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the 
        Virgin Islands;
Whereas such declines also have spanned age, racial, and ethnic groups;
Whereas there has been success in lowering the birth rate for both younger and 
        older teens;
Whereas the birth rate for those aged 15 through 17 declined 43 percent since 
        1991, the rate for those aged 18 and 19 declined 26 percent, and the 
        rate for African American teens--until recently the highest--declined 
        the most--falling 47 percent from 1991 through 2004;
Whereas, since the enactment of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity 
        Reconciliation Act of 1996, child support collections within the child 
        support enforcement system have grown every year, increasing from 
        $12,000,000,000 in fiscal year 1996 to over $22,000,000,000 in fiscal 
        year 2004;
Whereas the number of paternities established or acknowledged in fiscal year 
        2003--over 1,600,000--includes an almost 300 percent increase in 
        paternities established through in-hospital acknowledgement programs 
        promoted by the 1996 welfare reforms, and there were almost 915,000 
        paternities established this way in 2004 compared to 324,652 in 1996;
Whereas child support collections were made in nearly 8,100,000 cases in fiscal 
        year 2004, significantly more than the almost 4,000,000 cases in which a 
        collection was made in 1996;
Whereas the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 
        1996 gave States great flexibility in the use of Federal funds to 
        develop innovative programs to help families leave welfare and begin 
        employment, and to encourage the formation of 2-parent families;
Whereas annual Federal funding for under the new TANF block grant program have 
        been held constant at the all-time highs set in 1995, despite 
        unprecedented welfare caseload declines and despite the fact that States 
        may spend as little as 75 percent as much as they spent spending under 
        the prior AFDC program;
Whereas total welfare and child care funds available per family increased over 
        130 percent between 1995 and 2004, from $6,934 to $16,185;
Whereas child care expenditures have quadrupled under welfare reform, rising 
        from $3,000,000,000 in 1995 to $12,000,000,000 in 2004;
Whereas, under the TANF program, States have enjoyed significant new flexibility 
        in making policy choices and investment decisions best suited to the 
        needs of their citizens;
Whereas, despite all of these successes, there is still progress to be made;
Whereas significant numbers of welfare recipients still are not engaged in 
        employment-related activities;
Whereas, while all States have met the overall work participation rates required 
        by law, in an average month, only 41 percent of all TANF families with 
        an adult participated in work activities for even a single hour that was 
        countable toward the State's work participation rate;
Whereas, in 2002, 34 percent of all births in the United States were to 
        unmarried women;
Whereas, despite recent progress in reducing teen pregnancy in general, with 
        fewer teens entering marriage, the proportion of births to unmarried 
        teens has increased dramatically to 80 percent in 2002 from 30 percent 
        in 1970;
Whereas the negative consequences of out-of-wedlock birth on the mother, the 
        child, the family, and society are well documented;
Whereas the negative consequences include increased likelihood of welfare 
        dependency, increased risks of low birth weight, poor cognitive 
        development, child abuse and neglect, teen parenthood, and decreased 
        likelihood of having an intact marriage during adulthood, and these 
        outcomes result despite the often heroic struggles of mostly single 
        mothers to care for their families;
Whereas there has been a dramatic rise in cohabitation as marriages have 
Whereas an estimated 40 percent of children are expected to live in a 
        cohabiting-parent family at some point during their childhood;
Whereas children in single-parent households and cohabiting-parent households 
        are at much higher risk of child abuse than children in intact married 
Whereas children who live apart from their biological fathers are, on average, 
        more likely to be poor, experience educational, health, emotional, and 
        psychological problems, be victims of child abuse, engage in criminal 
        behavior, and become involved with the juvenile justice system than 
        their peers who live with their married, biological mother and father;
Whereas, despite the strenuous efforts of single mothers to care for their 
        children, a child living with a single mother is nearly 5 times as 
        likely to be poor as a child living in a married-couple family; and
Whereas, in 2003, in married-couple families, the child poverty rate was 8.6 
        percent: in households headed by a single mother the poverty rate was 
        41.7 percent: Now, therefore, be it
    Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring),  
That it is the sense of the Congress that increasing success in moving 
families from welfare to work, as well as in promoting healthy marriage 
and other means of improving child well-being, as promoted by the 
welfare reforms in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity 
Reconciliation Act of 1996, are very important Government interests and 
should remain priorities for the responsible Federal and State agencies 
in the years ahead
for assisting needy families and others at risk of poverty and 
dependence on government benefits.

            Passed the House of Representatives July 18, 2006.


                                                 KAREN L. HAAS,


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