Following the recent release of a Senate draft bill that would affect the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, the Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector, a senior research fellow, warned the draft legislation is problematic:
“Currently, the main problem in TANF is that the work requirements are too weak. Half of the work-capable population in TANF is completely idle. This draft bill would fail to address this essential problem. In fact, it would actually make the situation worse by weakening the existing work requirements.
The 1996 welfare reform, which implemented work requirements, was successful in reducing classical dependence, resulting in a substantial drop in the real poverty rate of single-parent families. This draft legislation represents a significant step backward in that progress.
Reforming TANF to encourage work is crucial given our vibrant economy in which job openings outnumber Americans currently looking for work. It would help get more people who are able to work back in our work force and further reduce poverty.
At this point, a simple reauthorization of TANF would be vastly better than the draft legislation under consideration.”