Job-Creating TANF Program Running Out of Funds

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010 at 10:58 am

This summer, Democrats pushing for additional stimulus have seemed to focus almost exclusively on extended unemployment benefits, blocked by Senate Republicans for two months. But the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act created dozens of stimulus programs whose funding is fading. And Congressional Democrats have thus far failed to extend or create funds for dozens of initiatives — including teachers’ jobs, summer jobs programs, Medicaid funding for states, state fiscal aid, Build America Bonds and many others.

Today, LaDonna Pavetti at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities focuses on the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Emergency Fund — a supplemental pool of money tacked onto TANF by the stimulus. TANF does not just provide welfare benefits for low-income parents with children, but also runs numerous jobs programs. The Emergency Fund helped employ 240,000 people by providing jobs subsidies — and became so successful that President Obama requested an extension of the program, and $2.5 billion for it for the next fiscal year. Pavetti writes:

The House has voted twice to extend the fund, a 2009 Recovery Act program …. The costs of the House extensions were fully offset so they wouldn’t add a penny to the deficit. But in the Senate, an extension has been part of larger bills that have stalled due to conflicts over provisions unrelated to the fund. What happens if Congress fails to act before the fund expires?

Tens of thousands of people will lose their jobs. The impact will be felt across the nation, in urban and rural areas alike, but will be especially great in the places with the largest programs and above-average unemployment rates. In Illinois, for example, about 20,000 participants could lose their jobs, which by itself could increase the unemployment rate from 10.4 to 10.7 percent. In Los Angeles, as many as 10,000 individuals could lose their jobs, potentially raising unemployment from 12.3 to 12.5 percent.

Most state programs will largely or totally shut down. Most of the 37 states operating subsidized employment programs created them to respond to the recession, and all of these states agree that the programs are still needed. Yet many of the programs — including most of the largest ones — will have to close their doors on September 30 if Congress doesn’t extend the fund; others plan to greatly scale back operations (see map).

Point being, while the unemployment extension passed, dozens of other programs have not — meaning less stimulus funding, and lost jobs.

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devonnoll
Comment posted July 27, 2010 @ 3:47 pm

This kind of insanity from Washington is unconscionable! TANF, which was brought to us as Welfare to Work reform under the Contract for America of GOP fame and supported by corporatist Bill Clinton, limits how much assistance people can get over their lifetimes to five years. You must take jobs at minimum wage, and if you don't you do not get help for food or insurance, even if you have proved you are disabled and cannot do the job they send you to do. If you need housing, they take your pay and give it to your landlord, often with nothing left for you to use for transportation or personal hygiene items like deodorant or shampoo or soap! This program created our slave labor class that we have today, and while the emergency program created more jobs, it did not create permanent jobs apparently for those who participated in the programs. Now with this limitation on how long someone can receive these benefits being 5 years, many people who will lose jobs may have also lost their social safety net, including access to food stamps and health care! And yet, these GOP hacks and their Blue Dog (or should they be called Yellow dogs for the streak going down their backs) have been stalling or eliminating the help that those who have not taken unemployment yet will need to keep their jobs or just survive. INCREDIBLE!!! This kind of thing is what leads to violence and civil uprising. The GOP had best be grateful that the liars at FOX News are keeping so many people ignorant of the truth, because if many of those who will be affected ever learn how they have been abused and used as political hostages, it will not be pretty. Parents will only stand it so long when their children are hungry and homeless before they rise up and demand, through violent means, what they are entitled to through years of work – help to survive!


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Hopeful that Florida benefits will be extended to improve our situation in this State!

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AidanL
Comment posted August 31, 2010 @ 11:31 pm

I work with a non-profit organization in San Francisco that utilizes TANF funding to hire employees. We are currently launching a campaign to get TANF emergency contingency funding extended and keep 235,000 people employed across the country. For information or to support our cause, visit our facebook page:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Keep-Main-Street-….
Please sign our petition today and Keep Main Street Working!


Clovisite
Comment posted November 1, 2010 @ 4:43 pm

I was a TANF Case Manager in Clovis, New Mexico recently. That's not how the TANF program works here at all! Every state has it's own rules, and in NM you do NOT lose food stamps and insurance if you are not working! In fact, quite the opposite–you don't even have to participate in a work program to get food stamps, just qualify! And, they do not TAKE your pay and give it to your landlord. Your benefits are reduced if you get a job, because you have more income when you're working. Your rent is YOUR business. You arrange that on your own. If you're on HUD, they have their own income restrictions, but TANF doesn't pay your rent FOR you! TANF clients are grown-ups. They pay their own bills. What are you basing your information on?????


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