Washington—Today, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and Senator Steve Daines (R-Mont.) introduced the Jobs and Opportunity with Benefits and Services for Success Act. This legislation will reform the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program by strengthening the requirements that recipients be engaged in work or in preparing themselves for work. TANF was a key component of the highly successful 1996 welfare reform effort but has been watered down in the years since through overuse of its waiver process. The JOBS for Success Act will close loopholes and help Americans who receive TANF benefits find employment.
Heritage Action released the following statement from Executive Director Tim Chapman:
Americans in need deserve our best efforts in assisting them. One of the best ways to ensure people receive the help they need is to aid them in finding a job. That’s what the JOBS for Success Act accomplishes—it helps to provide a permanent solution for Americans struggling to make ends meet. That solution is a job.
Congressman Kevin Brady stated:
Following the GOP tax cuts, our economy continues to soar, with wages rising at their fastest pace in a decade and near 50-year low unemployment. There are a record 7.3 million job openings, and millions of folks on the sidelines who we need – and want – to take part in this expanding economy. While our Democrat colleagues in the House continue their rush to impeachment, Republicans continue to advance policies focused on the dignity of work, ensuring low-income families have every opportunity to climb the economic ladder. This proposal builds on that by reforming our nation’s cash-for-work welfare program, refocusing this important program on the outcome of parents getting and keeping a job.
Senator Steve Daines said:
Our welfare programs should be a springboard to work and self-sufficiency, not a sinkhole into government dependency. My bill supports struggling low-income families and equips them with the skills and resources they need to find and keep a job - something that gives them hope, dignity, and a better future.
Congresswoman Jackie Walorski, Republican leader of the House subcommittee with jurisdiction, added:
Our safety net is essential to helping people who fall on hard times get back on their feet, but too often it becomes a web that traps people in a cycle of poverty. One key to breaking that cycle is to focus on human interaction, engagement, support, and encouragement on the individual level. The commonsense reforms in the JOBS for Success Act will make a real difference in people’s lives and give families a better chance to achieve the American Dream.
Congressman Adrian Smith, an original co-sponsor added:
With a rapidly expanding economy and unemployment reaching multi-year lows, it is imperative we engage Americans to bring them off the economic sidelines so they can achieve self-sufficiency. I appreciate the leadership of Ranking Member Brady, Human Resources Ranking Member Walorski, and Senator Daines in continuing our efforts through the JOBS for Success Act to bring much-needed reforms to the TANF program. As our hearing series in the Human Resources Subcommittee last year demonstrated, employers need workers as badly as Americans on the sidelines need to support their families, and these reforms will go a long way toward helping them both.
Work is not only honorable, it instills a sense of personal responsibility and self-worth. Work is a key ingredient in the recipe for ending poverty.
Furthermore, work is a way for Americans to meaningfully contribute in their communities. Currently, unemployment is at record lows and many employers are struggling to find enough qualified employees to fill open positions. Now is the time to make reforms to our welfare system and help able individuals move out of poverty and into the workforce.
TANF helps bridge the financial gap for Americans who are not able to provide for all of their needs while they search for a job. The JOBS for Success Act improves on TANF by providing TANF recipients a pathway back to employment.
Heritage Action supports this legislation, encourages Representatives and Senators to support it and sign on as a co-sponsor. Heritage Action will include co-sponsorship on our legislative scorecard.