Congressman Simpson today supported H.R. 890, the Preserving Work Requirements for Welfare Programs Act of 2013. This bill would extend the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and reject “guidance” issued by the Obama Administration last year to allow states to waive work requirements for welfare recipients. The bill passed the House 246 to 181.
The issue became embroiled in controversy last July when the Department of Health and Human Services announced it would grant waivers to states from the requirement that about half of those families receiving benefits from TANF have one or more family members either enrolled in job training or employed and working.
“TANF is an important program for many families in Idaho and across the country,” Simpson said. “It helps families emerge off welfare programs and begin working, saving, paying taxes into the system, and contributing back to society.”
Under current law, states have the ability to strengthen welfare-to-work programs, waivers are needed only to weaken current work requirements.
“The Administration claims to be offering more flexibility to states to design programs, but allowing for the possibility of softer work requirements is not the direction Americans want these programs to go,” said Simpson. “If anything we should strengthen work requirements, and I hope Congress can work in a bipartisan fashion to reauthorize TANF, close loopholes, and improve the program.”