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Mr. RENACCI. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of the Preserving the Work Requirements for Welfare Programs Act of 2013. This extension of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program not only provides families the resources they need to lift themselves out of poverty, but also maintains a valuable and bipartisan provision of the 1996 welfare reform law.
When first created, TANF was designated to get individuals back to work. Congress took further action in 2006 to strengthen work requirements after some States began counting activities like personal journaling, bed rest, and even weight loss as work activities.
Getting individuals back to work must remain TANF's purpose. However, HHS' unprecedented attempt to allow States to waive this work requirement has undermined this goal. These requirements were included in TANF for good reason.
If you're unemployed, maintaining your skill set is incredibly important to the company who wants to hire you. The longer you're out of work and the more your skills deteriorate, the less employable you are.
I can speak with some authority about this because I've owned and operated multiple businesses employing thousands of people. All things being equal, I would hire the individual who was most prepared to step into the position immediately.
So this is not about punishing those who are out of work. This is about giving those who are down on their luck the best chance to get back on their feet and start providing for their families again. If you speak to those that are out of work, that is what most will tell you they want: a chance to earn more money, help their family, and improve their situation in life.
I believe my colleagues on both sides of the aisle generally want to help those who are out of work. Instead of heated rhetoric, we should be focused on our common goal: providing much-needed assistance for the unemployed, while also helping them find the work they so desperately desire.
I ask my colleagues to come together and extend this important safety net, along with simple reforms that will ensure the program's effectiveness.
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