On Wednesday, April 11, House Ways and Means Committee began a markup on a package of bills that may result in a reauthorization of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). House Republicans are promoting the TANF reauthorization and limited package of changes as part of their programs to reduce. In announcing the hearing Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) said,
“These proposals are targeted, achievable actions about an issue we all care about – helping more American families get out of poverty and climb the economic ladder. Each bill will help strengthen the TANF program so that more Americans can find jobs, escape poverty, and provide for their families. I applaud my colleagues for promoting thoughtful solutions that will reform our nation’s welfare system and improve lives.”
The committee did not finish all the bills under consideration but they include:
- H.R. 5170, (Young, R-IN) Social Impact Partnerships to Pay for Results Act;
The Young bill would create a $100 million fund to create Social Impact Bond initiatives that could address a range of human service needs inclusion a reduction in foster care placements. It has bipartisan support and had been introduced as HR 2968.
- H.R. 2990, (Dold R-IL) Accelerating Individuals Into the Workforce Act;
The same as last year’s bill it would provide up to $100 million to states to test whether subsidizing TANF recipients’ wages can be an effective means of helping them enter the workforce.
- H.R. 2959, (Noem R-SD) TANF Accountability and Integrity Improvement Act;
This too is the same as last year’s bill. It restricts what states can count toward meeting their state spending (MOE-Maintenance of Effort) spending. This bill would restore the state spending requirements to the way they were written in the original 1996 law.
- H.R. 2966, (Smith, R-MO) Reducing Poverty Through Employment Act;
This bill is the same as last year’s bill and would add a fifth purpose to the TANF law, reducing poverty. Originally much of the federal regulations on how states could use their federal TANF funds was shaped by the four purposes of the act. This would allow funds to be used for poverty reduction. This was a goal some Democrats sought in the first reauthorization in 2001. It is likely less significant now due to the erosion of funding over the past twenty years.
Other bills still up for future consideration:
H.R. 5169, (Buchanan R-FL) What Works to Move Welfare Recipients Into Jobs Act, Promoting Proven Local Solutions that Help More People Get Back to Work; and
H.R. 2952, (Boustany, R-LA).Improving Employment Outcomes of TANF Recipients Act, Measuring State Success in Helping TANF Recipients Find a Job and Build a Successful Career
Ranking Member Congressman Sander Levin (D-MI) was disappointed in the limited discussion pointing out that the bills do not actually extend TANF and doesn’t address what some critics say is needed such an increase in child care funding. Others have also highlighted the need to increase in the TANF block grant.