July 21, 2015


Welfare Reform on the Fast Track? A top Republican working on the bill wants to avoid another short-term extension as September 30 deadline looms. (DYLAN SCOTT, 7/19/15, National Journal)

[Rep. Charles Boustany, a Louisiana Republican who is helping craft a sweeping reauthorization bill for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program] asked for public comments to be turned in by July 29. The House leaves for its August recess the next day and doesn't return until September 8, leaving just three weeks until the September 30 deadline. Aides said the goal was to be ready to mark up a bill as soon as possible after the recess.

"There's very little time left from a legislative standpoint because we're going to be out in August and we'll be up to the end of the fiscal year very soon," Boustany said. "So I'm trying to prepare a final product for the chairman so that we can be ready to go."

Both staffers involved with the bill and outside experts have said that the TANF bill being discussed would implement the biggest changes to the welfare program since it began in 1996. About 2 million families receive benefits through the $30 billion program.

The legislation would strengthen TANF's work-activity requirement by eliminating loopholes while also allowing more activities to count toward the requirement; the former is a Republican priority and the latter has been sought by Democrats. The bill would also set up an accountability system in which states could lose a portion of funding if they failed to meet new metrics based on welfare recipients' employment and income.

Posted by at July 21, 2015 5:03 PM

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