CHN: Yet Again – TANF Extended
With no resolution to the differences between the House and Senate in sight, Congress enacted the seventh extension of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) a few days before its latest June 30 expiration date (HR 4589). This extension lasts for three months, until September 30. Three months before, Chairman Herger (R-CA) of the Human Resources Subcommittee of the House Committee on Ways and Means said in floor debate that if there were the need for another extension, it would not simply continue current law, but would include one or another of the provisions the House wants. Chairman Herger had earlier introduced extension bills that included the House’s harsher work requirements and new marriage promotion funds. However, in a bit of good news for state administrators and families relying on TANF assistance, the last-minute controversy of an “un-clean” TANF extension bill was avoided.On the House side, both Republicans and Democrats wished for a bill that would provide stability and more resources to states, but disagreed about whether the House-enacted reauthorization bill (HR 4) would accomplish that. Representative Cardin (D-MD) ranking member on the Human Resources Subcommittee, acknowledged the current deadlock and suggested that before the September 30 deadline Congress should enact a five-year extension, making that a “stepping-stone to debate other proposed reforms separately.”
The Senate passed the three-month extension without debate. There does not appear to be any imminent plan to bring the TANF reauthorization bill back to the floor. Debate on the legislation began in the Senate in late March, and an amendment to add $6 billion in new child care dollars passed overwhelmingly, 78-20. The bill was pulled from the floor over disagreements over further amendments and underlying concerns about what a conference with the House would produce.