The Workforce Investment Improvement Act, a bill spearheaded by Republican Representatives Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Joseph J. Heck, (R-NV), and Buck McKeon (R-CA), would allow states to group state and federal employment/training programs, such as TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), into a single fund. However, this has an apparently unforeseen side effect–it would take away federally mandated requirements for the programs.
That is the result found, at least, by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service. The CRS is sometimes known as “Congress’ think tank” because of their nonpartisan policy and legal analysis services.
The funny thing here is that it is generally the conservatives in the government that are screaming about leftists all wanting a free lunch. By trying to accomplish their government-consolidation aims, they have, in effect, done exactly what they try to accuse President Barack Obama of. Talking Points Memo points out the irony:
“I don’t think the TANF work requirements were what they had in mind when they were working on the Foxx bill,” says Elizabeth Lower-Basch of the Center for Law and Social Policy. “But it is sort of a collateral consequence.”
According to a brief written by CLASP, for the House Education and Workforce Committee hearing on the bill in June, the bill also “eliminates many of the requirements and mandates that governed the now consolidated streams.” The committee cleared the bill anyway.
That, of course, is exactly what Republicans are falsely claiming the Obama administration’s state waivers would do. In reality, those waivers are only on offer to states that can demonstrate that they have or will increase the number of people transitioning from welfare to work by at least 20 percent.
They go on to point out that, “The GOP’s legislation has no such safeguards. According to the Congressional Research Service analysis of the bill published this month, ‘[I]f TANF funds were consolidated into the [Workforce Investment Fund], TANF program requirements (e.g., work requirements) may no longer apply to that portion of funding because the TANF funding would not exist (i.e., it would be part of the WIF and thus subject to WIF program requirements).'”
A humorous situation indeed.
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