IMPROVING THE COMMUNITY SERVICES BLOCK GRANT ACT OF 2003 -- (House of Representatives - February 04, 2004)
Mrs. MYRICK. Mr. Speaker, by direction of the Committee on Rules, I call up House Resolution 513 and ask for its immediate consideration.
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Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. Speaker, today I rise in support of this rule to reauthorize the Community Services Block Grant Act. I oppose the substitute because it would repeal current law and strip faith-based organizations of their right to hire the candidates they feel are most qualified for the jobs. These same rights are guaranteed to faith-based organizations under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and have since been consistently upheld in the courts.
Last year, I brought the Committee on Government Reform to Franklin, Tennessee, and we heard from groups of all sizes that helped the needy in Franklin and Middle Tennessee. One of those that testified was Onnie Kirk. He runs the Family Foundation Fund, an organization that helps fatherless children. He testified that they would not accept Federal funds if these funds compromised the character and the purpose of his organization. The amendment would remove those protections.
We should not bend to the false arguments and overburden the very organizations that serve the most needed needy in our society. These organizations have higher success rates than many government programs.
The Community Services Block Grant Act did not and still does not permit Federal funds to be used for the purposes of promoting religion. It allows faith-based groups to use Federal funds for secular purposes, feeding, clothing its needy, helping the out-of-work find jobs, without compromising their essential character. We should keep it that way.
I ask my colleagues to join me in opposing the substitute to H.R. 3030.