The House passed legislation (H.R. 3659) that would extend the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program through fiscal 2012. The bill, which passed by voice vote, would place restrictions on how benefits can be used and modifies certain requirements states have to meet when reporting data and administering benefits. The so-called strip club loophole allowed recipients to use benefits at liquor stores, casinos and strip clubs. This law closes that loophole. In some low-income communities these are the only establishments from which people can access benefits. In order for the bill to become law, the Senate would have to pass identical legislation and have it signed by the President.
NASW is supporting the RISE Out of Poverty Act (H.R. 3573) which aims to reduce child poverty by permanently authorizing the TANF program as a funding stream for subsidized employment, and revise the work participation rules for families receiving cash assistance.