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Preserving the Welfare Work Requirement and TANF Extension Act of 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 890, to prevent the administration from gutting critical TANF work requirements which have been central to TANF's success over the past two decades.

President Clinton shared the belief that welfare reform should be about moving people from welfare to work, and the 1996 bipartisan welfare reform law he signed promoted work as central to these reforms. The TANF program's statutory work requirements have reduced poverty and welfare dependence for the program's recipients. Since the enactment of the 1996 welfare reform law with its work requirements, the number of individuals receiving welfare has dropped by 57 percent, and employment and earnings among single mothers has increased significantly.

In my home State of Arkansas, TANF success stories are based on the core work requirements. We've got the story of Suzette. When she started participating in Arkansas' Work Pays program, she was a single parent without child care or transportation. With TANF assistance and support from her caseworker, within 6 months, she was promoted to shift manager at McDonald's and then on to a career at Tyson Foods. Now Suzette is providing child care and transportation herself, and her self-sufficiency was made possible through this program's key work requirements. This success story is exactly why Arkansas has not requested a waiver from the work requirements. In fact, no State has requested a waiver.

The administration's unprecedented action of pushing the waiver idea is a fundamental unwinding of years of progress made toward work as the cornerstone of moving people from poverty to self-sufficiency. We must uphold TANF's statutory work requirements and protect Congress' constitutional authority to legislate. I encourage my colleagues to support H.R. 890.

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