What: All Issues : Aid to Less Advantaged People, at Home & Abroad : America's Poor : H.R. 1227, Hensarling of Texas amendment to require federal housing recipients in the region affected by the 2005 hurricanes to work 20 hours per week/On agreeing to the amendment (2007 house Roll Call 164)
 Who: All Members : New York, District 2 : King, Pete
[POW!]
 
H.R. 1227, Hensarling of Texas amendment to require federal housing recipients in the region affected by the 2005 hurricanes to work 20 hours per week/On agreeing to the amendment
house Roll Call 164     Mar 20, 2007
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Progressive Result
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This vote was on an amendment offered by Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) that would require all those receiving federal aid as part of a bill to improve access to affordable housing in the region affected by the 2005 hurricanes that hit the Gulf Coast to work at least 20 hours per week.

Hensarling offered his amendment as a way to bring the federal housing aid under the bill in line with welfare reforms Congress instituted a decade ago.

"Now we have the same chance to extend this," Hensarling said on the House floor, "to empower people who have been impacted by these terrible gulf coast hurricanes, some who have been stuck in public housing for 10, 15 or 20 years." He added that "no one is required to get a job if the jobs don't exist" and there would be 12 distinct categories of work-related activities to satisfy the requirement, including attempting to find work, vocational education, community service and, in some instances, providing child care services to others.

Democrats replied that the amendment was misguided and racist.

"It is about race and poverty," said Rep. David Scott (D-Ga). After the Sept. 11 attacks, he said, "Nobody said, 'Make them work before we help them.' "

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) said the amendment was unnecessary and improper: "It is not the time that should be utilized to try and do something that really has already been taken care of in welfare reform. We should be about the business of returning people to their homes."

Thirty-nine Republicans joined all but four Democrats present in defeating Hensarling's amendment. By a vote of 162-266, the measure was defeated and a proposal to require that recipients of federal aid work 20 hours per week was not added to a bill aiming to provide for housing assistance to those affected by the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes.

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