Gwen Moore Aims to Help Welfare Recipients RISE
Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI) on Wednesday introduced the RISE Out of Poverty Act. An estimated 43 million Americans currently live in poverty, including millions in extreme poverty. Moore’s bill aims to shrink that number by reforming restrictions within the Temporary Assistance of Needy Families (TANF) program -- a federal block grant given to all states with very specific rules aimed at eliminating the dependence of people receiving welfare benefits. Each state makes its own determination on how to distribute these funds. Moore’s measure would eliminate imposed work requirements and limited education rules that restrict the amount of cash assistance families can receive. The bill would also guarantee child care for TANF work-eligible recipients, and require that states adopt standards and procedures to address domestic and sexual violence among TANF recipients. It would also make the current 60-month benefit limit inapplicable during periods of high unemployment and require states to disregard any months in which the state had an unemployment rate of 6.5% or higher. “As a former welfare recipient who rose up out of poverty with the help of cash assistance, higher education, and food stamps, I understand how critical it is for Congress to fix this broken program,” said Moore. “Our nation is only as strong as its most vulnerable populations. Instead of criminalizing and demonizing the poor, we must help lift them up, so they too can escape poverty.” More here.