Congress Considers Funding for Important Programs that Support Families

Congress returned from the summer recess to staggering reports, such as the unemployment rate hovering near 9.5 percent, and one in seven people living in poverty last year. On September 16, Sen. Baucus (D-MT) introduced the Job Creation and Tax Cuts Act of 2010. The bill proposes to spend $1 billion for Workforce Investment Act “grants to states for youth activities,” and an additional $1.5 billion for basic assistance for families, short-term, one-time aid for needy families and subsidized employment programs under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The bill also extends the deadline for the use of TANF funds through September 30, 2011. Several local Goodwill agencies have created subsidized employment programs through the use of TANF funds.

Goodwill Industries International (GII) supports the provisions extended through this act. Community-based Goodwill agencies often act as service providers of these programs, and many of the people that Goodwill serves are youth or people receiving TANF supports. The Job Creation and Tax Cuts Act of 2010 aligns closely with previous “extender” legislation supported by GII.

Similar to other bills, the Baucus bill has an uncertain fate. A Continuing Resolution needs to be passed by Congress before the end of the month to fund the federal government after September 30. While Sen. Baucus’s bill could be attached to that legislation as an amendment, that strategy is likely to draw stiff opposition. An alternative would be to try and attach the proposal to other vehicles, such as legislation that proposes to extending expiring tax cuts.

Stay tuned for continued updates from the GII Public Policy team for ways you can support the continued funding of these important programs.