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Advocacy & Public Policy

Here's what we stand for

Community Economic Opportunity Act

H.R.1655, the Community Economic Opportunity Act, reauthorizes the Community Services Block Grant.

Community Economic Opportunity Act of 2015

• Bill Number: H.R. 1655
• Date Introduced: March 26, 2015
• Status: Referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce
• Sponsor: Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA-8)
• List of PA Cosponsors: Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA-5); Rep. Charles Dent (R-PA-15); Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA-11); Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA-6); Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA-17); Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA-10); Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA-3); Rep. Robert Brady (D-PA-1); Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA-18). CLICK HERE for a full list of Cosponsors.

Why Community Action and Community Service Block Grant?

• Agencies focus on long-term independence.
• 90% of CSBG funding is placed under local direction - Local problems require local solutions with all community stakeholders.
• Collaboration with local partners prevents duplication.
• Leveraging private funds maximizes the effects of CSBG.
• The Community Action Network is governed by stringent organizational standards.

Why H.R.1655?

Localization and Privatization

• The bill establishes a preference for private non-profit local agencies as opposed to local governments in the future designations of sub grantees by the state.
• The bill prevents re-direction of CSBG funds. Currently, states can transfer grants to local governments seeking replacements for other federal and state funds that have been eliminated.
• Some states have required Community Action Agencies to assume categorical human services roles and duplicate shrinking county agencies instead of building local unique projects and interventions.

Outcomes

• The proposed bill streamlines the process of responding to poor local performance when necessary by tightening the process and timetable for corrective action by the agencies.
• Rigorous performance measurements and management systems are implemented at all three levels: local, state and federal.
• U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is required to review and approve state plans and operations.

Accountability

• The bill requires all CSBG partners to demonstrate professional competence in managing the organization and its grants.
• The bill requires federal and state administrators to have the knowledge, skills and ability to review the operations of private non-profit corporations and to efficiently manage federal funds.
• The bill strengthens the tripartite board by creating term limits for officers, requiring official designees to vote and requiring the adoption of a conflict of interest policy.

Innovation

• The proposed bill creates an already-paid for innovation fund to encourage efficient, cutting-edge solutions to poverty alleviation.
• The bill emphasizes local leaders' authority to pursue emerging opportunities.
• This bill funds innovative program experiments.