Thursday, March 25, 2010

The House Passes the TANF Emergency Fund Extension

Yesterday, by a vote of 246-178,the House passed H.R. 4849, “The Small Business and Infrastructure Jobs Tax Act of 2010,” which will provide a full one year extension of the TANF Emergency Fund.

Established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the TANF Emergency Fund provides additional funding to states for increased expenditures in basic assistance, short-term non-recurrent benefits, and subsidized employment for federal fiscal years 2009 and 2010. The TANF Emergency Fund is being used in 35 states and is reportedly on track to put over 160,000 Americans back to work. Although the TANF Emergency Fund has been a valuable tool for providing assistance to needy families, the funding opportunity is set to expire on September 10, 2010 and has become a major priority amongst policymakers.

Here are the TANF Emergency Fund provisions in H.R. 4849:
  • The House Bill provides $2.5 billion dollars for a full year extension of the TANF Emergency Fund, which matches the President’s 2011 Budget Proposal.
  • The maximum amount that a state can receive under the TANF Emergency Fund or the regular Contingency Fund for 2011 is 30 percent of the state's Block Grant amount.
  •  The House provision does not include all of the changes that the President's budget proposal had included; specifically, it does not raise the subsidized employment reimbursement to 100 percent and it does not add a fourth category of employment services.
  • The provision also specifies that the subsidized employment category can include a member of a needy family (whether or not receiving TANF cash assistance) or an individual that has exhausted or will soon exhaust all Unemployment Insurance benefits and who is needy (regardless of whether the household includes a child). This will allow states to serve childless adults as part of their TANF ECF-funded subsidized employment programs.
The Senate is expected to take up the bill after next week's recess and we'll be closely tracking the bill's progress.

For more information.

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