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Hanabusa Votes to Support States' Role in Welfare Program
Washington, D.C. – On Thursday, the House voted on a resolution of disapproval that rejects the Obama administration’s proposal to allow states more flexibility in running their welfare programs, also known as the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.
Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01) voted against the measure.
“Both Republican and Democratic governors have expressed interest in implementing their own innovative programs to help get their residents back to work. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, I believe the states have an idea of what works and what doesn’t in their communities, and they should have a say in this process because they know how to address their unique needs,” said Hanabusa.
The 1996 welfare law, which replaced the entitlement program with a block grant, requires that states must show that at least half of the families receiving aid are working or participating in welfare-to-work activities such as job search programs. However, many states, including those with Republican governors, have requested flexibility from the welfare rules in order to implement their own experimental pilot programs to increase job placement and training.
In July, the administration issued a memo advising states that they could apply for waivers to test new methods of engaging TANF participants in work activities, granted that their proposals include an evaluation plan to test the effectiveness of the demonstration, a set of performance measures that states must use to track outcomes, the length of time the project would be expected to last, opportunities for public input, and a budget plan. States would still be required to meet the work goals outlined in current law.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office decided this memo constitutes a rule under the Congressional Review Act, and therefore must first be submitted to Congress. The resolution of disapproval passed the House by a vote of 250 to 164, however, it must also be approved by the Senate and signed by the President to prevent the rule from taking effect.