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U.S. Rep. Karen Bass Statement on H.R. 3567 Welfare Integrity Now for Children and Families Act of 2011


Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Rep. Karen Bass made the following statement on her vote against H.R. 3567, which would require states to implement policies which ensure Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits are not spent at any liquor stores, casino or gambling establishment, or in adult-oriented entertainment venues in which performers disrobe.

"My vote today against H.R. 3567 is not a vote in support of the improper use of TANF benefits, but for the well-being of the working poor who are being negatively mischaracterized in an unnecessary political debate. The reality is, families receiving TANF benefits are well below the poverty line in every state and are barely able to make ends meet to provide food, shelter and clothing for their families -- with only $600 per month.

"What's more disheartening in this debate is the fact that my Republican colleagues are discounting the plight of the working poor and assuming they are aware of how these families survive on a daily basis. Oftentimes in rural communities the nearest ATM to withdraw benefits is five miles away at a casino, which is more practical and economical than traveling 50 miles or more to a bank's machine; and in urban centers, which are often located in food deserts, liquor stores may be the nearest location for cash-strapped families to obtain the basics -- bread, eggs and water for their children.

"While the intent of the author might be to ensure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely, I believe this legislation is mean spirited, irresponsible and has the potential to leave innocent children without food, shelter or clothing."

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