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July 17, 2023

The Debt Ceiling Deal Refocuses TANF on Employment and Self-Sufficiency

Introduction While one of the main purposes of the U.S. safety net is to help individuals vulnerable to poverty provide for their basic needs and avoid hardship, there exists an important additional purpose: for individuals and families to escape dependence and achieve self-sufficiency. Unfortunately, most safety net programs do not adequately track whether federal spending…

May 31, 2023

Ending the Small Checks Scam

It’s no secret that strengthening work requirements for key welfare benefits has been a flashpoint in the debt limit negotiations. House Republicans, led by Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), insisted on including stronger work requirements in any agreement that raises the debt limit. Meanwhile President Joe Biden vacillated. At first, he noted his past support for work requirements and seemed open…

May 30, 2023

Two Sentences Will Strengthen SNAP’s Support for Work

The debt ceiling deal, agreed to by President Joe Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy, will improve the federal safety net’s effectiveness in helping people rise out of poverty. It modestly enhances work requirements to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which is federal cash welfare, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), better known as…