March 25,2004

Senate Vote on Welfare Program Extension


To: Reporters and Editors
Re: Welfare program extension
Da: Thursday, March 25, 2004

This morning, the Senate passed a three-month extension of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program offered by Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Committee on Finance, and Sen. Max Baucus, ranking member. The authorization of the TANF program is setto expire at the end of this month. Passing this extension does not obviate the need to reauthorizeTANF, and the Finance Committee bill to do so, H.R. 4, is still scheduled to be on the floorbeginning Monday of next week. If enacted, today’s extension will be the sixth TANF extension.The House needs to vote on this and may do so next week. The extension is for three monthsbecause block grant funds are dispersed on a quarterly basis. Grassley made the following commenton the extension.

“I’m glad we’re working on extending the existing program. It would be completelyunacceptable to have any lapse in the services that are critical to millions of Americans. Still, anextension isn’t the same as an improved welfare program, and it’s important to pass legislationbuilding on the successes of the 1996 reform bill. The welfare rolls have declined, but just goingoff welfare doesn’t mean families have achieved significant income and job security. We’ve had alot of success, but we have a lot more work to do, and I look forward to getting it done.”