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house Bill H.R. 3151

Welfare: Changes to State-Funded Cash Benefits

Argument in favor

Encourages individuals to earn more income and move toward self-sufficiency. Makes a temporary program truly temporary.

Argument opposed

Presupposes an economy where more work is always available, and that all welfare recipients would have access to such work.

bill Progress

  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Ways and Means
    IntroducedSeptember 19th, 2013

What is House Bill H.R. 3151?

This bill would limit the ways by which and time span over which states can give cash benefits from state coffers to welfare recipients.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities states that

Congress created the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block part of a federal effort to “end welfare as we know it.” Under TANF, the federal government provides a block grant to the states, which use these funds to operate their own programs.  In order to receive federal funds, states must also spend some of their own dollars on programs for needy families (they face severe fiscal penalties if they fail to do so).  This state-spending requirement, [is] known as the “maintenance of effort” (MOE) requirement.

Families can receive TANF funds for five years. States can give cash payments that count as part of their MOE requirement indefinitely. This bill would disallow that, amending the time limit on cash payments to five years and limiting the mode in which cash could be offered after that five-year period to "transitional cash assistance," which is defined as 

an amount necessary to replace the loss of any food assistance, rent assistance, low-income energy assistance, and childcare assistance lost as a result of increased family income from earnings or child support payments.
Beneficiaries would be eligible to receive the transitional cash assistance for up to one year. 


The bill impacts the Temporary Assistance for Need Families (TANF) program and the Maintenance on Effort (MOE) program, and those receiving benefits from those programs.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 3151

A CBO cost is unavailable.

More Information


Of Note:

In 2011, states spent roughly $15 billion on MOE funds and some 108.6 million people, or roughly 34% of America, received some form of welfare. 


Promoting Assistance with Transitional Help Act

Official Title

To amend title IV of the Social Security Act to modify the State maintenance of effort requirement, and for other purposes.

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