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Representative Darin LaHood

Representing the 18th District of Illinois

LaHood Introduces Three Bills to Bolster TANF Program

February 20, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Congressman Darin LaHood introduced three bills, H.R. 1245 the Improving Access to Child Care Act, H.R. 1246 the Improving Access to Work Act, and H.R. 1247 the Supporting Work Through Apprenticeships Act, which aim to strengthen programs under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).  These much needed reforms to TANF will support needy families by expanding avenues to promote work, participate in apprenticeship programs, and provide child care services.

“The primary goal of the TANF program is to assist families in need with a hand-up, providing safety net of government assistance to find work and pull themselves out of poverty," stated Rep. LaHood. "That being said, for the first time ever we have over seven million unfilled jobs in this country and these bills will ensure that the TANF program prioritizes workforce development while providing individuals access to the necessary resources to find and keep a job. In addition, these bills hold states accountable assuring the money they receive is going to the neediest families and expand child care access. These common-sense pieces of legislation will capitalize on our strong economy and ensure the TANF program works better for the people it serves.”

In the 115th Congress, the Improving Access to Work Act was included in the Ways and Means Committee’s JOBs for Success Act. You can read more about that here.

Background:

Improving Access to Work Act

  • This legislation will require states to spend 25% of their Maintenance-of-Effort (MOE) funds and 25% of their federal block grant on work or work support activities
    • In 2017, states used only 10.5 percent of their TANF funds for work activities and another 1.5 percent on work supports activities
  • Additionally, this legislation prohibits states from supplanting TANF federal funds to fill state budget holes

Supporting Work Through Apprenticeships Act

  • This legislation adds apprenticeships as a work activity
    • Current work activities include on-the-job training, job readiness assistance, vocational educational training, and community service, but apprenticeships included as a work activity

Improving Access to Child Care

  • This legislation will eliminate the $608 million contingency fund and provide the funds for child care
    • Contingency fund dollars would then be distributed to all 50 states for child care purposes
    • Currently, only 17 states, Illinois not being one of them, receive contingency funds – New York receives almost half of these funds alone
      • While intended for economic downturns, these states have used contingency dollars for a wide-range of unrelated purposes