Senate Passes One-Year TANF Extension

Nov 20, 2010

Right before heading out of town for Thanksgiving, the Senate took care of some important unfinished business, passing by unanimous consent a bill that included a one year extension of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant through September 30, 2011.  Unfortunately, this extension does not include the TANF Emergency Fund, which assisted states that increased spending on subsidized jobs, basic assistance and short-term benefits during fiscal years 2009 and 2010.

TANF was scheduled to be reauthorized by September 30, 2010, but Congress did not get to it this year, necessitating a short-term extension as part of the continuing resolution.  By passing a one-year extension, Congress can ensure that the program will operate without interruption through the end of FY 2011.  The House is expected to approve this bill after it returns to session.

The extension does include two new reporting requirements for states, with reports due in May and August.  Congress expects to use the findings from these reports as it considers TANF reauthorization. First, states must report on whether work-eligible individuals in families receiving assistance are participating in activities aimed at achieving self-sufficiency, even if these activities do not fall into one of the categories counting toward the work participation rate, or if the individual has exceeded the limits on job search/job readiness or vocational education.  

Second, states must report in more detail on how TANF and maintenance of effort (MOE) funds now reportedas "other" and "authorized under prior law" are being used.  In 2009, these two categories accounted for 18 percent of total TANF and MOE spending nationally, but some states reported much higher shares of spending in these categories.

More information on TANF Reauthorization

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