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Favre Welfare Scandal Highlights Need to Hold Washington Accountable

A scandal in which NFL-quarterback Brett Favre is accused of diverting welfare dollars from the state of Mississippi, as reported by the New York Times and Washington Post last week, calls attention to the need for critical reforms to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

The allegations against Favre are related to an ongoing investigation into at least $77 million in misused funds from Mississippi’s TANF program from 2017 to 2020.

While Democrats have no plan to reform TANF and turn a blind eye to the broken safety net programs littered across the federal government, Republicans will ensure critical safety net programs like TANF are doing what they’re supposed to do – lifting Americans out of poverty through opportunity and work.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

Democrats refuse to act in the face of waste, fraud, and abuse:

  • Just like the billions lost to pandemic unemployment fraud, Democrats refuse to act in the face of unprecedented waste, fraud, and abuse. Meanwhile fraudsters are fleecing taxpayers and robbing the poor..

Republicans will continue to hold government accountable:

  • Republicans have been fighting to get reforms to TANF since 2018.
  • The Favre scandal sheds light on loose restrictions on use of TANF funds that allow corrupt state officials to easily take advantage of loopholes.
  • Republicans introduced policies to close these loopholes are included in our JOBS for Success (H.R. 4509) bill to overhaul and restore accountability. Republicans re-introduced the bill this Congress (H.R. 4509) and will continue to push for these critical reforms.
  • House Republicans recently renewed our promise to hold Washington accountable and reform programs like TANF in our “Commitment to America.”

BACKGROUND:

  • American taxpayers already spend more than a trillion dollars a year to provide benefits and services to low-income families, which is why it’s critical to ensure that tax dollars being spent are achieving their intended purpose.
  • Last July, Committee Republicans re-introduced the Jobs and Opportunity with Benefits and Services (JOBS) for Success Act (H.R. 4509) to make needed reforms to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The bill reauthorizes the program and would prevent waste, fraud, and abuse by:
  1. Closing loopholes by requiring states to use funds for core purposes of supporting work, including additional access to child care and job training, when combined with case management services can help to address the needs of the whole family on their path to economic self-sufficiency.
  2. Targeting funds by making sure states can only spend dollars on families with less than 200 percent of poverty. This is about helping the truly needy engage in work, not plugging state budget holes or funding pet projects.
  3. Requiring states to measure and report on improper payments. Nearly every government assistance program is required to report improper payments on an annual basis, TANF is not.
  4. Making sure states are focused on real success—getting and keeping a job.

The following bills proposed in the 117th Congress from Ways and Means Republicans Members are included in the JOBS for Success Act:

  • H.R. 4543, sponsored by Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN), the Coordinating Assistance for TANF Recipients Act;
  • H.R. 4540, sponsored by Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-PA), the Improving Access to Child Care Act;
  • H.R. 4525, sponsored by Rep. Darin LaHood (R-IL), the Supporting Work through Apprenticeships Act;
  • H.R. 4524, sponsored by Rep. LaHood, the Improving Access to Work Act;
  • H.R. 4535, sponsored by Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY), the Helping Americans Succeed by Measuring Outcomes Act;
  • H.R. 4507, sponsored by Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-TX), the Protecting Family Resources and Training Options Act;
  • H.R. 4537, sponsored by Rep. David Schwiekert (R-AZ), the Improving Transparency in TANF through Data Act;
  • H.R. 4544, sponsored by Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), the Workforce Opportunity Realignment Kickstart Act or the ‘‘WORK Act”;
  • H.R. 4539, sponsored by Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE), the Focusing State Efforts to Expand Opportunity Act;
  • H.R. 4538, sponsored by Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO), the Benefits to Employment Act;
  • H.R. 4536, sponsored by Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC), the Welfare for Needs not Weed Act; and
  • H.R. 4532, sponsored by Rep. Carol Miller (R-WV), the Accelerating Individuals into the Workforce Act.

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