At the request of three Virginia congressmen, the federal Office of Management and Budget has agreed to restore nearly $20 million for refugee social service programs that it had proposed cutting from a $70 million allocation for refugee programs nationwide.
Sen. John W. Warner and Reps. Frank R. Wolf and Stanford E. Parris said the funds are crucial to helping localities, particularly in Northern Virginia, with resettlement programs for the large influx of refugees.
The congressmen contacted OMB after meeting earlier this month with representatives of Arlington and Fairfax counties, which have a large and growing refugee population. They also sought help in blocking the proposed cut from the federal Department of Health and Human Services, which administers refugee aid programs.
Just how much money will come to Virginia, and subsequently to this area, is not yet known, however, according to a spokesman for the congressmen.
OMB originally had proposed transferring the $20 million from the social services account to a general welfare account that covers direct cash payments and medical assistance to refugees.
Local officials argued that the transfer would be counterproductive since the social services account pays for programs, such as language and job training, to help refugees get off welfare.