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MARKUP: Chairman Brady Opening Statement at Markup of Bills to Improve TANF

May 11, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) delivered the following opening statement at a full committee markup on six bills aimed at strengthening the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.

Remarks as prepared for delivery:

“Thank you for joining me today.

“For over a year we’ve been working together on both sides of the aisle on strengthening the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program which helps needy families reach self-sufficiency. 

“Our markup today is an important part of that effort, and also reinforces my commitment to moving bills through a regular legislative process when good policy has been developed. 

“The bills we are considering today are targeted, achievable actions that will reform the temporary cash welfare program to help more families escape poverty and climb the economic ladder.

“Today is also a way for us to jumpstart the conversation around welfare and enacting more successful, 21st Century solutions that reward work and spring Americans from the poverty traps that can hold them back.

“As we continue to move forward, this Committee is guided by four basic principles:

“First, we will expect work-capable adults to work or prepare for work in exchange for receiving government benefits.

“Second, we will work to get incentives right so welfare recipients, taxpayers, employers, states and nonprofits are all better off when someone moves from welfare to work.

“Third, we will focus on results of welfare programs and do everything possible to ensure that they are actually helping people.

“And fourth, we will improve integrity to avoid fraud and preserve welfare benefits for those most in need.

“Each of the proposals in this package we are considering today delivers on these important principles. 

“Congressman Jason Smith’s bill will reaffirm what we have all known about this program – that it should be focused on reducing child poverty and the best way to do that is by increasing job opportunities for their parents.

“Human Resources Subcommittee Chairman Buchanan’s bill will make sure that states are sharing ideas about what works and what doesn’t work. His bill promotes proven local solutions to help more people get back to work.

“Congressman Young’s bill will ensure that we support innovative and effective social programs that deliver real results.  After all, it doesn’t do anyone any good if we continue to fund programs that aren’t working. 

“Congressman Dold’s bill will encourage employer-led partnerships to help people move from welfare to work. We all know job-creators in our districts that want to help reduce poverty. We need their expertise and their support in this process – and that’s what this bill delivers.

“Former Human Resources Subcommittee Chairman Boustany’s bill will measure state success in helping recipients find jobs and build successful careers. It also builds on recent changes to federal job training programs to measure these outcomes consistently across programs for better coordination.

“And finally, Congresswoman Noem’s bill will help prevent states from counting outside spending as their own, which has allowed states to reduce their own investments in the program. 

“Taken together, these bills will begin to strengthen the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, reduce poverty, and improve the lives of low-income families. 

“Thank you to all the members on the Committee who have worked so diligently on these issues over the last year.

“Today’s package of bills is just a small portion of our larger effort, and I look forward to continuing to work on additional ideas in the months and years ahead.”