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The Senate Finance Committee's TANF Reauthorization Bill

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Publication Date: May 2004

Publisher(s): Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (Washington, D.C.)

Author(s): Sharon Parrott; Shawn Fremstad

Funder(s): Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (Washington, D.C.)

Funder(s): Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (Washington, D.C.)

Special Collection: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Topic: Social conditions (Public welfare and social services)

Keywords: Economic projections; Economic inequality; Income diversity; Household income

Type: Report


In September 2003, the Senate Finance Committee approved legislation that reauthorizes the TANF program for five years and makes a number of changes to the program. The full Senate has yet to approve the Finance bill, but the Senate did vote in March 2004 to amend the bill to increase funding for child care above the level set in the House bill. Because of disagreements between Democrats and Republicans on how the process for debating and finalizing the bill would go forward, the bill was “pulled” from the Senate floor. It is unclear whether the Senate will take up the bill again this year.

The Senate Finance bill differs markedly from a controversial version of the legislation approved by the House in 2003. The Senate Finance bill is a significant improvement over the House bill. Despite these improvements, the Senate Finance bill still raises a number of issues and concerns that the full Senate should address when it returns to the bill.