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house Bill H.R. 430

Should the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program Be Funded Thru June 2019?

Argument in favor

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program provides critical funding to states’ anti-poverty efforts. It helps ensure that families in poverty with children can meet their children’s basic needs.

Ken's Opinion
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01/14/2019
It seems as though there is a systematic attempt by some to eliminate the needy not by helping to lift them out of poverty but to send them deeper into hopelessness. If someone is hungry and they ask for a fish do we throw them a rock?
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Hope's Opinion
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01/14/2019
We have a moral obligation to help care for those who cannot care for themselves.
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verymary's Opinion
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01/14/2019
They're the least of these. We don't have the right to abandon them.
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Argument opposed

The TANF program is not successful at lifting families out of poverty and needs to be rethought if it’s to be an effective poverty reduction tool. Short-term reauthorizations of the program’s funding also create uncertainty for states, making it difficult to plan for the program.

JTJ's Opinion
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01/14/2019
Stop taxing the crap out of people and redistributing it according to the governments socialist whims. The states are qualified deal with their own social problems.
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eliyak's Opinion
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01/14/2019
It's another misnamed federal program which keeps people poor. Make a real effort to reform it, or replace it with non-profits that actually know how to help people.
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TuckerWantsLiberty's Opinion
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01/14/2019
This is not "Should we have compassion on the poor?". The United States government does not have this money, which means this is "Should we borrow Saudi blood money and money that China has stolen from its poorest citizens, to give to our poor, knowing that Americans who haven't been born yet will have to pay that money back, with interest?" I say no. That's not a good deal. That's not a moral act.
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bill Progress


  • EnactedJanuary 24th, 2019
    The President signed this bill into law
  • The senate Passed on a voice vote
  • The house Passed on a voice vote
      house Committees
      Committee on Ways and Means
    IntroducedJanuary 10th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 430?

This bill, the TANF Extension Act of 2019, would extend block grants to states that provide funding for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program through June 30, 2019.  

Impact

Children; families; poverty; states; federal budget; and the TANF program.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 430

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthHouse Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) introduced this bill to extend TANF funding through June 30, 2019. The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities reports that currently, the government shutdown has made TANF funds unavailable:

“Currently, funds are not available for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The majority of the recipients of these funds are children. In the interim, states must cover the cost and states are doing their best to pull together unspent federal funds.”

The National Association of Counties (NACo), which supports TANF reauthorization, contends that TANF provides essential funding to states — but it opposes short-term extensions, such as this one, and argues that TANF funding should be increased annually to keep pace with inflation:

“TANF provides funding to states to help families reduce welfare dependency and allows states to design and implement the program according to their needs… Long-term reauthorization of TANF will provide program continuity. Short-term extensions create uncertainty and difficulty in planning and implementing long-term program changes… TANF funding should be increased annually by an amount commensurate with the rate of inflation to ensure that the program’s actual value does not decrease each year.”

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) argues that TANF in its current incarnation is an unsuccessful program that needs significant reworking:

“Some policymakers have pointed to TANF as a model for reforming other programs, but the facts suggest otherwise. TANF provides a greatly weakened safety net that does far less than AFDC did to alleviate poverty and hardship. Furthermore, TANF’s work programs rarely move parents into jobs that lift their families out of poverty. TANF’s early years witnessed unprecedented declines in the number of families receiving cash assistance — and declines in the number of families in poverty. However, the TANF caseload has failed to adequately respond to changes in need… The national TANF caseload has declined by 69 percent over the last two decades, even though poverty has not declined nearly as much. Because TANF reaches so many fewer families than AFDC did, it provides substantially less protection against poverty and deep poverty. In 1996, 68 families received TANF for every 100 families in poverty; in 2016, only 23 families received TANF for every 100 families in poverty. The share of children living in deep poverty (defined as living in families with incomes below half the poverty line) has increased since welfare reform was implemented, and research suggests that the loss of TANF benefits contributed to that growth. TANF benefits are too low to lift many families out of poverty, but they can help reduce the depth of poverty. TANF has proven far less effective at lifting families out of deep poverty than AFDC, mostly because fewer families receive TANF benefits than received AFDC benefits. (The erosion in the value of TANF benefits has also contributed.) While AFDC lifted more than 2 million children out of deep poverty in 1995, TANF lifted only 635,000 children out of deep poverty in 2010.”

This bill has the support of one bipartisan cosponsor, Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-TX).


Of NoteThe TANF block grant program was created by Congress through the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, as part of the federal effort to “end welfare as we know it” during the Clinton administration. It replaced AFDC, which had provided cash welfare to poor families with children since 1935.

TANF assists families with children when the parents or other responsible relatives can’t provide for the family’s basic needs. The federal program provides grants to states to run TANF. These state TANF programs have four goals:

  1. Providing assistance to needy families so that children can be cared for in their own, or relatives’, homes;

  2. Ending needy parents’ dependence on government benefits by promoting job preparation, work, and marriage;

  3. Preventing and reducing the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies and establishing annual numerical goals for preventing and reducing these pregnancies’ incidence; and

  4. Encouraging the formation and maintenance of two-parent families

States have broad flexibility to carry out TANF programs by deciding on the programs’ design, the type and amount of assistance payments, the range of services to be provided, and the rules for determining eligibility.

The basic TANF block grant has been set at $16.5 billion each year since 1996. Its funds have been used by states for a variety of services and supports, such as: Income assistance (including wage supplements for working-poor families), child care, education and job training, transportation, aid to children at risk of abuse and neglect, and a variety of other services to help low-income families. Some states also use TANF funds to provide a safety net and connect families to work.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / Medvedkov)

AKA

TANF Extension Act of 2019

Official Title

To extend the program of block grants to States for temporary assistance for needy families and related programs through June 30, 2019.

    It seems as though there is a systematic attempt by some to eliminate the needy not by helping to lift them out of poverty but to send them deeper into hopelessness. If someone is hungry and they ask for a fish do we throw them a rock?
    Like (100)
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    Share
    Stop taxing the crap out of people and redistributing it according to the governments socialist whims. The states are qualified deal with their own social problems.
    Like (18)
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    Share
    We have a moral obligation to help care for those who cannot care for themselves.
    Like (57)
    Follow
    Share
    They're the least of these. We don't have the right to abandon them.
    Like (39)
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    Share
    Yes, we are talking about families and children and their lives and their future. We spend over 3/4 of a trillion dollars for military and want to divert billions from disaster relief to build walls while our people, our Neighbors and children go hungry. What kind of people are we if we don’t support the needy? Why have we as a nation become so heartless😢?
    Like (21)
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    Open our government. No funding for a wall.
    Like (19)
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    Trump and his Trumputins have been after the food, housing, medical and other assistance programs since they have come into power. The current Trump initiated government shutdown is a harmful effort to further demean middle class Americans while the Republicans stand idly by in silence. Open the government, challenge the administration’s lies, and govern for ALL the people. Do not fund HIS wall.
    Like (16)
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    Yes!!
    Like (14)
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    If you call yourself a kind and caring person who Loves others, Then yes please fund this program. I happen to believe this is a moral obligation to others.
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    ...or longer...
    Like (12)
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    It's another misnamed federal program which keeps people poor. Make a real effort to reform it, or replace it with non-profits that actually know how to help people.
    Like (11)
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    Those who qualify for TANF fall 150% below the Federal Poverty Level. The TANF grant is for the children of the household (third-trimester to 18) and is not much money. In Arkansas, each eligible family member only received $82 per month. Since Welfare Reform during the Clinton administration,1992, TANF participants are also required to work. It is one of the more successful social programs within our Federal Government and provides supplemental services as long as the parent or guardian of a child is working. It is a stepping stone towards self sufficiency, is time-limited and is vital for families that fall below 150% of the Federal Poverty Level; therefore funding should be extended.
    Like (11)
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    This is not "Should we have compassion on the poor?". The United States government does not have this money, which means this is "Should we borrow Saudi blood money and money that China has stolen from its poorest citizens, to give to our poor, knowing that Americans who haven't been born yet will have to pay that money back, with interest?" I say no. That's not a good deal. That's not a moral act.
    Like (10)
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    There is no reason to cut support for needy families, especially those with children. A nation without compassion is a truly desperate place.
    Like (9)
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    Ignore this, All and Any Business until Congress passes a complete budget. Do your jobs for the first time since before Obama. No short, or stop gap spending. Work with President Trump, and Get Our Businescs done.
    Like (7)
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    I spent many years working FULL-TIME as a teacher with a Bachelor's degree but my pay in Missouri was so low and I had two children to feed, that I qualified for food stamps. If I had not had that assistance, I would have died of starvation. Even one or two weeks without food can kill. Feed the people!! Congress is getting paid big bucks!
    Like (6)
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    It’s time Congress starts actually thinking about & taking steps to ensure people in America are have the necessities of life: food, shelter & clothing any way that can help.
    Like (5)
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    Yes, and it better be or you will have hell to pay in 2020.
    Like (5)
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    They need to keep hammering the president and McConnell with bills that will keep the entire government open without giving the president funding for the stupid wall. Force the senate to veto the president’s veto.
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    I can accept the fact that people disagree. But, if you don’t want your taxes to assist the poor, stop saying you want a nation based on Christian values. Because you don’t.
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