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News & Press: Advocacy

Do Not Reduce Aid to Struggling Americans: Oppose TANF Cuts Contained in Continuing Resolution

Tuesday, September 16, 2014   (0 Comments)
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Congress will most likely not be able to pass the spending bills for the next fiscal year which begins on October 1. As a result, they will need to pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government running. NASW has learned that members of Congress have included $29 million in cuts to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program in the CR.


The CR contains two separate cuts to the TANF Program funding that will make it even more difficult for the economically disadvantaged to attain long-term employment and increase their earnings. These cuts are a move in the wrong direction and reflect a larger trend of doing the least for those who need a hand the most. This funding reduction would come on top of the 2011 elimination of TANF Supplemental Grants, which previously provided $319 million in annual TANF resources.  The cuts to TANF included in the CR are:

1) $14 million (2%) reduction in the TANF Contingency Fund

Over one-third of States have relied on the TANF Contingency Fund last year to provide additional funding to respond to an increase in demand for TANF services since the start of the economic downturn. States qualify for Contingency Fund payments based on their unemployment rate, SNAP caseload, and maintenance-of-effort spending on TANF services.

2) $15 million (100%) reduction that will eliminate TANF Research Funds

TANF Research Funds are used by the Department of Health and Human Services to evaluate the effectiveness of different state TANF programs and to develop new approaches for improving employment outcomes among TANF recipients. These funds date back to the inception of the TANF program in 1996 and have been included in each extension of TANF since. If this cut is enacted, studies currently being conducted on vocational training, job search services, and other initiatives would be severely disrupted.

Since 1996, the size of the overall TANF block grant has lost 32% of its real value.

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