Washington, D.C. – Congressman Darin LaHood (IL-18) introduced two bills, the Improving Access to Work Act and the Supporting Work Through Apprenticeships Act, which aim to strengthen provisions under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. These much-needed reforms to TANF will hold states accountable for their spending and ensure that the federal dollars are going towards the neediest families to provide them with the resources and necessary tools to get back into the workforce.
LaHood's bills were included in the Ways and Means Republicans' “Jobs and Opportunity with Benefits and Services for Success Act” or “JOBS for Success Act.” Senate Companion legislation was introduced by Senator Steve Daines (R-MT).
"The primary goal of the TANF program is to assist families in need with a hand-up, providing safety net of government assistance to help find work and pull themselves out of poverty," said Rep. LaHood. "Finding and keeping a job is the best way for families to move toward self-sufficiency, and I am proud to reintroduce legislation to help Americans get back to work as we recover from COVID-19."
Yesterday, on the 25th anniversary of bipartisan welfare reform in 1996 that created TANF, Ways and Means Republicans hosted a roundtable meeting with key former and current Republican leaders and experts on anti-poverty welfare reforms. They discussed TANF improvements that promote personal responsibility, time limits on eligibility, and work requirements. You can view that here.
Improving Access to Work Act
- This legislation will require states to spend 25% of their Maintenance-of-Effort (MOE) funds and 25% of their federal block grant on work or work support activities
- In 2019, states used only 10% of their TANF funds for work activities and another 3% on work support activities
- Additionally, this legislation prohibits states from supplanting TANF federal funds to fill state budget holes
Supporting Work Through Apprenticeships Act
- This legislation adds apprenticeships to the list of approved work activities
- Current work activities include on-the-job training, job readiness assistance, vocational educational training, and community service