House Passes TANF Emergency Fund Extension

Mar 24, 2010

By a vote of 246-178, the House of Representatives on March 24 passed the small business jobs bill (H.R. 4849 - The "Small Business and Infrastructure Jobs Tax Act of 2010"), which contains a one-year extension of the TANF Emergency Fund.

The bill provides $2.5 billion for the Fund in FY 2011.  Initially enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the fund has allowed states to provide more direct cash assistance to struggling families, and create subsidized jobs for low-income workers. Because families across the country continue to face high levels of unemployment and dire financial need, the benefits the fund provides will be required beyond September 30, 2010, when the fund is scheduled to expire.

The extension passed by the House designates that the maximum amount that any state would be able to receive in FY 2011 from the TANF Emergency Fund or the regular Contingency Fund is 30 percent of the amount of the state's TANF Block Grant.  It would not carry over unspent funds from the initial allocation

One important change is that the bill makes eligible for subsidized jobs under the Emergency Fund any individual who is needy and who has exhausted or will soon exhaust all Unemployment Insurance benefits, regardless of whether the individual's household includes a child. This important change would allow states to serve childless adults as part of their TANF Emergency Fund subsidized employment programs.  However, the House bill neither raises the federal match for subsidized employment programs to 100% nor creates a new "employment services" category, as President Obama's budget had proposed. 

The Senate is expected to take up the bill soon.     

View CLASP's resources on the TANF Emergency Fund.

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