CHN: Representative Mink Introduces TANF Reauthorization Bill
Representative Patsy Mink (D-HI) and members of the Progressive Caucus introduced legislation (HR 3113) on October 12th to reauthorize and improve the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Many view this anti-poverty bill, which has been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee, as a progressive marker for welfare reauthorization next year.
While the Mink bill retains the basic structure of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWRA) – the 1996 law that created TANF – it focuses on addressing the challenges that have prevented welfare recipients from escaping poverty during the last five years under the program. Senator Paul Wellstone (D-MN) is expected to introduce companion legislation in the Senate by early February 2002.
In addition to restoring full access to benefits to qualified immigrants, the measure underscores the importance of education and training in acquiring permanent, high wage employment. The bill also emphasizes the necessity of work supports like childcare and of addressing barriers to economic self-sufficiency such as domestic violence, mental or physical disability, and substance abuse.