WASHINGTON, DC—In what legislators are hailing as a major step toward breaking the cycle of urban poverty, Congress allocated $1.4 billion Monday for programs aimed at developing inner-city youths' dribbling and rhyming skills.

U.S. Rep. John Warner (D-CA) urges members of Congress to "make the development of urban youths' ball-handling and mic skills a top priority."

"With the passage of this bill, Congress has sent the message, loud and clear, that it is committed to investing in our nation's inner-city youths," Sen. Lauch Faircloth (R-NC) said. "Whether on the mic or on the court, to succeed in the next century these youngsters are going to need top-notch skills. Without them, they don't stand a chance."

Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), the bill's co-sponsor, agreed. "When you're out in the marketplace, a potential employer like the Charlotte Hornets or Bad Boy Records is going to want to know what you can bring to them," Gregg said. "And without at least three good moves to the basket and a decent fadeaway jumper, or some unstoppable freestyle skills and mad lyrical flow, you're not even going to get a foot in the door."

"No employer wants to hire a bricklayer or wack MC," he added.

A majority of the $1.4 billion will go toward the construction and staffing of job-training centers across the U.S., where inner-city youths can acquire the tools necessary to compete in today's fiercely competitive marketplace.

"As the number of applicants for those 340 NBA roster spots and 60 major-label rap contracts continues to increase each year, so does the level of competition," Gregg said. "That's why it's so crucial that these kids have solid crossover dribbles, turntable technique, and other building blocks for success.

According to Gregg, while the funding is aimed at inner-city youths, everyone stands to benefit from it.

"When our nation's rap-and-basketball base thrives, we are all better off," he said. "By investing in the future Anfernee Hardaways and Ol' Dirty Bastards today, we guarantee that all Americans are well-entertained tomorrow."