Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, today voted in opposition to H.R. 890, a Republican bill that would restrict states' ability to improve their welfare-to-work programs, known as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). The bill would block a waiver policy announced by the Department of Health and Human Services in July 2012, which gives states more flexibility in designing their welfare policies. The decision to grant the waivers followed years of advocacy from Republican leaders who have called for more state flexibility in designing state TANF programs.
Rep. Markey released the following statement:
"Today House Republicans continued their unwarranted attacks on our nation's low-income families. The majority of TANF recipients are children, and many hard-working families need TANF to supplement wages for difficult, low-paying jobs. Contrary to Republican rhetoric, the waivers blocked by this Republican bill would allow states to improve long-term employment outcomes for TANF recipients. The claim that these waivers would encourage dependency is flat wrong, and the attempt to scapegoat low-income families for our nation's fiscal problems is shameful."
"With today's bill, Republicans are opposing the same welfare waivers that they have previously called for in the name of state flexibility and states' rights. To turn around now and oppose the waivers is pure politicking. I stand with hard working American families today in opposing this dangerous legislation."