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Congress passes bipartisan TANF funding extension

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House, Senate approve bipartisan TANF reauthorization bill extending program through June 2019 TANF legislation would resume payments impacted by the government shutdown through June Counties play a major role in TANF administration & contribute local funds to program costs

Update: On January 22, the U.S. Senate approved the TANF Extension Act of 2019 (H.R. 430) following passage of the legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives on January 14. Having passed both chambers, the bill now heads to President Trump's desk for his signature. 


On January 14, the U.S. House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, a federal cash assistance program for low-income families with children. The bill, titled the TANF Extension Act of 2019 (H.R. 430), would reauthorize TANF through June 30, 2019 and resume quarterly payments impacted by the partial federal government shutdown.

Funding for the TANF program expired on December 22, 2018, and the program is traditionally funded through the regular government appropriations process. TANF was last reauthorized in 2010 and has since been operating on a series of short-term extensions.

Administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), TANF is a federal entitlement program providing federal funding to states, tribes and territories for a wide range of benefits, services and activities to address both the effects and the root causes of poverty. While TANF is primarily a partnership between the federal government and states, ten states share TANF administration with county agencies. In these states, which collectively account for 51 percent of all TANF recipients, counties contribute significant local funds to the administrative and supplemental costs of running the program.

Now that the House has passed the legislation, the proposal will move to the Senate for consideration. If signed into law, HHS has indicated that it would take up to four business days from the date of enactment for the second quarter payments to be sent to states.

Additional NACo Resources on the TANF Program

NACo Presentation: Counties and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program

NACo Blog: New TANF proposal reshapes welfare program

Click here to view the full legislative text.

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