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Public Statements

Department Of Labor, Health And Human Services, And Education, And Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


DEPARTMENTS OF LABOR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, AND EDUCATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2008 -- (House of Representatives - July 18, 2007)

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Mr. KIND. Mr. Chairman, I thank the chairman for yielding.

Mr. Chairman, I rise today with the gentleman from Tennessee, my good friend, Mr. Wamp, for the purpose of engaging the chairman in this colloquy about the National Youth Sports Program. While my purpose for rising today is to discuss the merits of NYSP, I would also like to commend the chairman on the work that the committee has done in crafting such a respectable bill before us. The subcommittee was able to restore several programs that otherwise would have been eliminated, while also increasing important investments in much-needed areas such as No Child Left Behind, IDEA, and the Community Services Block Grant.

I am disappointed, however, that this year, due to funding constraints, the National Youth Sports Program was not funded in this appropriations bill. The National Youth Sports Program program is an educational partnership that has worked successfully for over 37 years. It provides low-income children ages 10 to 16 a 5-week summer program offering sports and academic programs at colleges and universities nationwide.

While touring the NYSP program on the UW-Eau Claire and UW-LaCrosse campuses in my district on several occasions, I have witnessed firsthand how this program reaches beyond academics and sports to provide opportunities for learning about good nutrition, developing leadership skills and developing good character.

In previous years, the program served approximately 76,000 children at 201 colleges and universities across the country. The loss in Federal funding, however, has had a dramatic effect on the program's operation. It is expected there will only be 50 programs and 10,000 students participating this summer nationwide.

In our home State of Wisconsin, close to 1,600 young people once participated in this program, yet this year, unfortunately, that figure has dramatically declined to approximately 400 children.

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Mr. KIND. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

Mr. OBEY. I yield to the gentleman from Wisconsin.

Mr. KIND. As the chairman is aware, earlier this year we sent a bipartisan letter to the committee requesting an $18 million appropriation for NYSP, and given the importance of this program to many children throughout the country and the fact that NYSP has successfully leveraged Federal funding to secure substantial matching community investments, we would hope that if funding is found on the Senate side, that both the House and the chairman would be supportive of the funding level coming out of the Senate in conference.

It is also our hope that in the future NYSP will receive an outreach of support to continue its agenda for organizations that specialize in assisting at-risk youth. This program is too vital for the health and well-being of our young people for it to be left unfunded for another year.

Mr. OBEY. Let me say, I hope anything is funded on the Senate side. I would like to thank both gentlemen for their passion and attention to this program, and I will be happy to join both of you in encouraging reauthorization of this program.

Mr. KIND. I thank the chairman.

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