A welfare reform measure has been proposed by a Nebraska Congressman.
Congressman Adrian Smith proposes replacing TANF, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program enacted 22 years ago.
“It needs updating. It needs reform. And, what we want to do is make sure that these resources from taxpayers are actually reaching the intended recipients,” Smith tells Nebraska Radio Network.
TANF was the main outgrowth of welfare reform during the presidency of Bill Clinton. It sought to replace traditional welfare programs with programs which provided both direct financial assistance and job training assistance; a path out of poverty.
TANF gave states great flexibility in spending the federal money, flexibility some states abused, according to Smith.
“We have found that states have had so much flexibility over the last 22 years with these funds that they’re actually choosing to use these dollars for other parts of their state budgets,” according to Smith.
Smith co-sponsors the Jobs and Opportunity with Benefits and Services (JOBS) for Success Act with House Ways and Means Committee chair Kevin Brady of Texas. Smith is chair of the Human Resources Subcommittee.
A primer on the act released by the Ways and Means Committee claims welfare reform in 1996 aimed to help single mothers. The JOBS for Success Act would require states to address the needs of both men and women with the aim of helping those receiving assistance to get jobs. The measure would require federal money go to those making less than 200% of the federal poverty level. Money would be provided for job training as well as child care to help the poor access jobs. States would be held accountable for how they spend the money.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]