CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Wednesday, September 21, 2011, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 2943 under a suspension of the rules requiring a two-thirds majority vote for approval. H.R. 2943 was introduced by Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY) on September 15, 2011, and was referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means as well as the House Committee on Budget. Neither Committee took any official action.
H.R. 2943 would extend the authorization of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) state block grant program for three months, through December 31, 2011. Under current law, the program’s authorization is set to expire on October 1, 2011, at the end of FY 2011. The bill would authorize “such sums as may be necessary” to carry out the program at the same level as FY 2011 or $16.48 billion according to CRS. The bill would extend funding for the basic block grant, healthy marriage and responsible fatherhood competitive grants, mandatory child care grants, and certain other funds. However, it would not fund TANF supplemental grants, which expired on June 30, 2011.
In 1996, President Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, a largely Republican bill that overhauled the federal welfare program. The legislation replaced the entitlement program known as Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) with a block grant program called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The passage of TANF changed the way that federal cash benefits are given to needy people in the U.S. by requiring welfare recipients to engage in a minimum amount of monthly work activity.
The bulk of federal TANF funding is in a basic block grant to states that totals $16.5 billion per year. States are also required to expend a certain amount of their own funds on TANF-related programs, under what is called a maintenance of effort (MOE) requirement, equal to a total minimum of $10.4 billion per year.
A CBO cost estimate for H.R. 2943 was not available as of press time