What: All Issues : Labor Rights : Rights of Individuals in the Workplace : H.R. 3030. Community Services Block Grants/Vote on Democratic Version Which Would Prevent Organizations Which Receive Taxpayer Funding to Conduct Anti-Poverty Programs from Discriminating Against Potential Employees on the Basis of Religion and Requiring Recipients of Poverty Aid to Participate in Religious Activities. (2004 house Roll Call 17)
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H.R. 3030. Community Services Block Grants/Vote on Democratic Version Which Would Prevent Organizations Which Receive Taxpayer Funding to Conduct Anti-Poverty Programs from Discriminating Against Potential Employees on the Basis of Religion and Requiring Recipients of Poverty Aid to Participate in Religious Activities.
house Roll Call 17     Feb 04, 2004
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

House rules severely limit the ability of minority party members in the lower chamber to amend legislation which is favored by majority party leaders and their rank-and-file. To contrast their position on specific issues with the views of the majority party, minority party Democrats often draft an alternative piece of legislation which reflects their priorities and offer it as an amendment during floor debate on the majority-supported bill. The purpose of this exercise is to alert voters about minority party positions on policy matters. During debate on legislation to reauthorize federal funding for the community services block grant program-a federal program which helps fund the anti-poverty efforts of over 1,000 charitable organizations-Representative Woolsey (D-CA) offered the Democratic version of the bill as an amendment to the Republican-drafted version. Progressives supported Woolsey's effort because, in contrast to the underlying Republican measure, the Democratic version of the bill would have prohibited charitable organizations which receive taxpayer money in the form of community service block grants from discriminating on the basis of religion when making hiring decisions (see also House vote 15). Additionally, the Democrats' bill would have prevented those organizations from requiring individuals who receive assistance to participate in religious activities (see also House vote 16). In the view of Progressives, taxpayers should neither subsidize nor condone organizations which use an individual's religion as a factor in deciding to hire him or her. Progressives also argued that the constitutionally-mandated separation between church and state forbids organizations from using taxpayer money for church recruitment or other religious activities. Conservatives voted against the Democrats' version of the bill on the grounds that its passage would have a chilling effect on the participation of religiously-affiliated providers of anti-poverty programs. Many religious groups, Conservatives argued, provide valuable assistance to the nation's poor and their participation in anti-poverty programs should be encouraged. On a vote of 183-232, the Democratic version of the community services block grant program was defeated and the Republican version was allowed to proceed to a final vote.

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