Congressman Geoff Davis (R-KY), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Human Resources of the Committee on Ways and Means, today announced that the Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the reauthorization of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, including how States engage recipients in work activities that move them toward self-sufficiency. The hearing will take place at 2:00 P.M. on Thursday, September 8, 2011, in Room B-318 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
The hearing was originally scheduled for 9:00 A.M. on Thursday, August 4, 2011, in Room B-318 Rayburn House Office Building, but was postponed.
In view of the limited time available to hear from witnesses, oral testimony at this hearing will be from invited witnesses only. Witnesses will include experts on the engagement of TANF recipients in work activities and other issues. However, any individual or organization not scheduled for an oral appearance may submit a written statement for consideration by the Committee and for inclusion in the printed record of the hearing.
The purposes of the TANF program include providing assistance to needy families and ending dependence on government benefits by promoting job preparation, work, and marriage. Adults on TANF may be required to participate in up to 30 hours of work or other constructive activities per week to be eligible for benefits, and States must ensure that 50 percent of work-eligible families satisfy this requirement. Since it replaced the New Deal-era AFDC program in 1996, TANF has resulted in reduced welfare dependence as cash assistance caseloads declined 57 percent through December 2010. The work-based 1996 reforms also played a substantial role in reducing child poverty, and even in the recession year of 2009, both African American and Hispanic child poverty remained below 1996 levels despite an unemployment rate 50 percent higher than the pre-reform level.
While TANF has resulted in increased work and reduced dependence and poverty among many low-income parents, current pro-work policies may not reach all or even most adults in families on welfare. States may exempt individual adults on welfare from work requirements or otherwise adopt policies that reduce the 50 percent share of households expected to include an adult participating in work or other activities in exchange for benefits. For example, an increasing number of States have used “excess maintenance of effort (MOE) credits,” among other measures, to significantly reduce the share of current welfare recipients expected to work or participate in other activities while receiving benefits, undermining a key welfare reform goal. The TANF program is currently authorized through September 30, 2011, and the President called for a one-year extension of the current program in his Fiscal Year 2012 budget proposal.
In announcing the hearing, Chairman Davis stated, “TANF is designed to help low-income adults prepare for, find, and stay in jobs instead of spending year after year on welfare. Despite significant success since welfare reforms were enacted in the 1990s, in Fiscal Year 2010, over four-in-ten TANF families faced no work requirement at all, and less than a third of families facing work requirements actually met them in Fiscal Year 2009. With TANF requiring an extension before the end of this year, now is the right time to review the program to ensure that States are taking the necessary steps to help TANF families move up the economic ladder, as the 1996 welfare reform intended.”
FOCUS OF THE HEARING:
The hearing will focus on oversight of the TANF program along with proposals to improve work and other TANF goals as part of upcoming legislation to extend TANF and related programs.
DETAILS FOR SUBMISSION OF WRITTEN COMMENTS:
Please Note: Any person(s) and/or organization(s) wishing to submit for the hearing record must follow the appropriate link on the hearing page of the Committee website and complete the informational forms. From the Committee homepage, http://waysandmeans.house.gov, select “Hearings.” Select the hearing for which you would like to submit, and click on the link entitled, “Click here to provide a submission for the record.” Once you have followed the online instructions, submit all requested information. Attach your submission as a Word document, in compliance with the formatting requirements listed below, by the close of business on Thursday, September 22, 2011. Finally, please note that due to the change in House mail policy, the U.S. Capitol Police will refuse sealed-package deliveries to all House Office Buildings. For questions, or if you encounter technical problems, please call (202) 225-1721 or (202) 225-3625.
The Committee relies on electronic submissions for printing the official hearing record. As always, submissions will be included in the record according to the discretion of the Committee. The Committee will not alter the content of your submission, but we reserve the right to format it according to our guidelines. Any submission provided to the Committee by a witness, any supplementary materials submitted for the printed record, and any written comments in response to a request for written comments must conform to the guidelines listed below. Any submission or supplementary item not in compliance with these guidelines will not be printed, but will be maintained in the Committee files for review and use by the Committee.
- All submissions and supplementary materials must be provided in Word format and MUST NOT exceed a total of 10 pages, including attachments. Witnesses and submitters are advised that the Committee relies on electronic submissions for printing the official hearing record.
- Copies of whole documents submitted as exhibit material will not be accepted for printing. Instead, exhibit material should be referenced and quoted or paraphrased. All exhibit material not meeting these specifications will be maintained in the Committee files for review and use by the Committee.
- All submissions must include a list of all clients, persons, and/or organizations on whose behalf the witness appears. A supplemental sheet must accompany each submission listing the name, company, address, telephone, and fax numbers of each witness.
The Committee seeks to make its facilities accessible to persons with disabilities. If you are in need of special accommodations, please call 202-225-1721 or 202-226-3411 TTD/TTY in advance of the event (four business days notice is requested). Questions with regard to special accommodation needs in general (including availability of Committee materials in alternative formats) may be directed to the Committee as noted above.
Note: All Committee advisories and news releases are available on the World Wide Web at http://www.waysandmeans.house.gov/.