House Holds Hearing, Releases Discussion Draft Legislation on Reauthorization of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

Last week, the House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Human Resources held a hearing on “Welfare Reform Proposals,” specifically involving the reauthorization of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Witnesses were: Kristen Cox, Executive Director, Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, State of Utah; Lt. Colonel David Kelly, Secretary of Program, Salvation Army; Boyd Brown, Area Director, Employment and Training, Goodwill Easter Seals Minnesota; LaDonna Pavetti, Vice President for Family Income Support Policy, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; and Grant Collins, Senior Vice President, Workforce Development and Executive Director, WeCARE Region II, FedCap. The Committee has also released a discussion draft of legislation to reauthorize TANF. Visit the Committee website to review written testimony and to access archived video of the hearing.

House to Hold Hearing on Reauthorization of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

On Wednesday, July 15, the House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Human Resources will hold a hearing on “Welfare Reform Proposals,” specifically involving the reauthorization of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Visit the Committee website for more information and to access live video the day of the hearing.

House Holds Hearing on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

Last week, the House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Human Resources held a hearing on “Next Steps for Welfare Reform: Ideas to Improve Temporary Assistance for Needy Families to Help More Families Find Work and Escape Poverty”.  Witnesses were Peter Cove, Founder, America Works; Sherrie Smoot, Former America Works Client; Eloise Anderson, Co-Chair of the Secretaries’ Innovation Group, Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families; Heather Reynolds, President and CEO, Catholic Charities Fort Worth; Tracy Wareing, Executive Director, American Public Human Services Association; and LaDonna Pavetti, Vice President for Family Income Support Policy, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.  Visit the Committee website for testimony and archived video.

House Approves Bill to Block State TANF Waivers

The House approved the Preserving Work Requirements for Welfare Programs Act (H.R. 890, introduced by Rep. Dave Camp(R-MI)). The bill would prohibit the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) from finalizing, implementing, enforcing, or otherwise taking any action regarding the HHS Information Memorandum (IM) issued July 12, 2012. The IM notified states that HHS would consider state proposals to waive some work participation requirements under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.

The HHS IM indicated “the Secretary’s willingness to exercise her waiver authority under section 1115 of the Social Security Act to allow states to test alternative and innovative strategies, policies, and procedures that are designed to improve employment outcomes for needy families.” The notice specifies that “HHS will only consider approving waivers relating to the work participation requirements that make changes intended to lead to more effective means of meeting the work goals of TANF.” Examples provided by HHS showed the different types of projects for which a waiver might be granted, including “projects that demonstrate strategies for more effectively serving individuals with disabilities, along with an alternative approach to measuring participation and outcomes for individuals with disabilities.” The Arc supports efforts to secure appropriate supports and services for TANF recipients with disabilities, who are estimated to make up a sizable proportion of TANF recipients.

House Marks Up Legislation to Block State TANF Waivers

Last week, the House Committee on Ways and Means marked up the Preserving Work Requirements for Welfare Programs Act of 2013 (H.R. 890; introduced by Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI)). The bill would prohibit the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) from finalizing, implementing, enforcing, or otherwise taking any action regarding the HHS Information Memorandum (IM) issued July 12, 2012. The memorandum notified states that HHS would consider state proposals to waive some work participation requirements under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The Committee on Ways and Means reported the bill favorably by a vote of 21 to 14; the bill has also been referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce.

The HHS IM indicated “the Secretary’s willingness to exercise her waiver authority under section 1115 of the Social Security Act to allow states to test alternative and innovative strategies, policies, and procedures that are designed to improve employment outcomes for needy families.” The notice specifies that “HHS will only consider approving waivers relating to the work participation requirements that make changes intended to lead to more effective means of meeting the work goals of TANF.” Examples provided by HHS showed the different types of projects for which a waiver might be granted, including “projects that demonstrate strategies for more effectively serving individuals with disabilities, along with an alternative approach to measuring participation and outcomes for individuals with disabilities.” The Arc supports efforts to secure appropriate supports and services for TANF recipients with disabilities, who are estimated to make up a sizable proportion of TANF recipients.

RISE Out of Poverty Act Reintroduced

Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) has reintroduced the Rewriting to Improve and Secure an Exit Out of Poverty Act of 2013, also known as the RISE Out of Poverty Act (H.R. 814), to reauthorize the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program. Major proposed reforms include increasing state block grants and indexing them annually for inflation, providing new funding for child care and subsidized employment, mandating guaranteed child care for all work-eligible parents, and requiring states to provide benefit levels that meet basic family needs. The bill would revamp work requirements to support education and training, and allow people with disabilities and family caregivers to participate in a modified plan of work or job preparation. The bill also would enhance screening for disabilities, and require detailed annual reporting on beneficiaries with disabilities. The bill was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means, and, in addition, to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

House Holds Hearing on State TANF Waivers; Legislation to Block Waivers Introduced

Last week, the House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Human Resources held a hearing on “Waiving Work Requirements in the TANF Program.” The hearing focused on the implementation of a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Information Memorandum (IM) issued July 12, 2012 notifying states that HHS will consider state proposals to waive work participation requirements under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

The HHS IM indicated “the Secretary’s willingness to exercise her waiver authority under section 1115 of the Social Security Act to allow states to test alternative and innovative strategies, policies, and procedures that are designed to improve employment outcomes for needy families.” The notice specifies that “HHS will only consider approving waivers relating to the work participation requirements that make changes intended to lead to more effective means of meeting the work goals of TANF.” Examples provided by HHS showed the different types of projects for which a waiver might be granted, including “projects that demonstrate strategies for more effectively serving individuals with disabilities, along with an alternative approach to measuring participation and outcomes for individuals with disabilities.” The Arc supports efforts to secure appropriate supports and services for TANF recipients with disabilities, who are estimated to make up a sizable proportion of TANF recipients.

Visit the Committee web site to view testimony from the hearing, including video.

House passes resolution of disapproval of state TANF waivers

The House passed a disapproval resolution, H.J.Res. 118, introduced by Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), to prevent implementation of a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Information Memorandum (IM) notifying states that HHS will consider state proposals to waive work participation requirements under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). A parallel measure, S.J.Res. 50, was introduced earlier in September by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and referred to the Senate Committee on Finance, but has not advanced.

The HHS IM indicated “the Secretary’s willingness to exercise her waiver authority under section 1115 of the Social Security Act to allow states to test alternative and innovative strategies, policies, and procedures that are designed to improve employment outcomes for needy families.” The notice specifies that “HHS will only consider approving waivers relating to the work participation requirements that make changes intended to lead to more effective means of meeting the work goals of TANF.” Examples provided by HHS showed the different types of projects for which a waiver might be granted, including “projects that demonstrate strategies for more effectively serving individuals with disabilities, along with an alternative approach to measuring participation and outcomes for individuals with disabilities.” The Arc supports efforts to secure appropriate supports and services for TANF recipients with disabilities, who are estimated to make up a sizable proportion of TANF recipients.

House marks up resolution of disapproval of state TANF waivers

In July, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) posted an Information Memorandum (IM) and sent a letter to state Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) officials to “notify states of the Secretary’s willingness to exercise her waiver authority under section 1115 of the Social Security Act to allow states to test alternative and innovative strategies, policies, and procedures that are designed to improve employment outcomes for needy families.” The notice specifies that “HHS will only consider approving waivers relating to the work participation requirements that make changes intended to lead to more effective means of meeting the work goals of TANF.” Examples provided by HHS showed the different types of projects for which a waiver might be granted, including “projects that demonstrate strategies for more effectively serving individuals with disabilities, along with an alternative approach to measuring participation and outcomes for individuals with disabilities.”

On September 4th, the General Accountability Office issued an opinion that the IM must be submitted to Congress before taking effect. Last week, two House Committees marked up a disapproval resolution H.J.Res. 118, introduced by Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), to prevent implementation of the IM. A parallel measure S.J.Res. 50, introduced by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), has been referred to the Senate Committee on Finance.

The Arc supports efforts to secure appropriate supports and services for TANF recipients with disabilities, who are estimated to make up a sizable proportion of TANF recipients.