March 18, 2024

U.S. House Ways and Means Offers Federal TANF Reform Package After Mississippi Scandal

Morgan Howard

Press Release from State Auditor Shad White’s Office:
JACKSON, Miss. – Federal lawmakers and leaders of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee last week introduced seven new pieces of legislation in Congress to reform Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF, or more commonly “welfare”).
“The Mississippi case is emblematic of a systemic problem,” said the lawmakers. “A lack of basic financial safeguards have unfortunately created an environment ripe for fraud that robs resources from families in poverty, with some states diverting non-assistance funds to fill budget gaps and to fund programs loosely related to TANF’s core goals.”
“I applaud these members for these proposed federal reforms,” said State Auditor Shad White, whose office stopped the large welfare fraud scheme in Mississippi. “It’s time to get smart about how the nation spends welfare money and put in more safeguards to prevent another scheme like what we saw here.”
The proposed reforms would tighten the definition of “needy,” require more TANF dollars to focus on moving the needy into a job, and cut down on administrative waste in TANF spending, among other things.
“We need to stop paying money to people who won’t work and instead use TANF to reward people who go from not working to getting a job,” said White.
White has previously proposed spending Mississippi’s TANF money on a tax cut for anyone moving from unemployment to employment.
Federal lawmakers also held multiple hearings in 2023 to study problems with TANF and have asked the U.S. Government Accountability Office to conduct a nationwide “investigation” of welfare spending and fraud.

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