The continuing resolution on the federal budget being considered in Congress this week includes a six month extension of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. Congress has debated a longer term reauthorization of TANF for a number of years now but has not been able to reach agreement and has been passing short term extensions in the interim. This extension will keep the program intact under current rules for six months with the hope that the next Congress, convening in January, will reach agreement for the longer term.
In a related development, the House of Representatives will likely pass a resolution on Thursday expressing disapproval of the new TANF waiver rules announced by the Obama Administration in July. This has become an increasingly partisan issue in the Presidential election over the past few weeks. Several Republicans including Mitt Romney have criticized the new rules claiming they limit the work requirements to be eligible for cash assistance, which President Obama and fellow Democrats deny. The House leadership resolution is critical of the waiver rules but is not expected to have any real effect since the Senate is not going to take up the resolution.