Spotlight Exclusives

240,000 Jobs At Risk Where۪s the Outcry?

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OOTS points out that a vital program that affects low-income workers is on the chopping block this month.  The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Fund, which has resulted in jobs for more than 240,000 people, will expire if it is not reauthorized by September 30.


OOTS notes that if this fund is not extended, thousands and thousands of jobs, many of which went to low-income parents and young people, could be lost. What۪s more, a lot of smart folks from both parties have said that this is a program that works.


You۪ll recall that given the depth of the Great Recession, Congress supplemented TANF with a $5 billion Emergency Fund to provide assistance to states and cities that create subsidized employment programs. According to a White House report, nearly 90 percent of those working in TANF-subsidized job opportunities have family incomes below $25,000.


Currently, 37 states and the District of Columbia are operating subsidized jobs programs through the Emergency Fund, providing work for more than 240,000. 240,000! In a Spotlight special series on TANF earlier this year, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland said that TANF is “helping the neediest Ohioans find and keep jobs in the midst of this global economic downturn.” And Mississippi Governor (and potential 2012 Republican presidential nominee) Haley Barbour has said that the Emergency Fund provided “much-needed aid during this recession.” Haley Barbour!


Despite the program۪s success, states will be forced to roll back or even cancel their subsidized employment programs if Congress does not extend the Emergency Fund. On July 28, the House introduced a jobs bill the Investing in American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act (H.R. 5893) that includes a one-year extension of the Emergency Fund. But several attempts at this extension have failed to pass the Senate and it۪s not clear whether the upper chamber will act in time. 


There is no question that people who care about poverty should keep their eye on this program. For more resources on the TANF Emergency Fund, you can visit the Center on Law and Social Policy۪s issue page on temporary assistance.

Posted by Allison


Here at Out of the Spotlight, we offer a behind-the-scenes look at the latest news and information essential to anyone working to fight poverty. From key political appointees to clashes over policy, we cover the news that doesn۪t always make the evening news. Check out Out of the Spotlight for our take on the twists and turns of the latest political developments and its impact on poverty reduction. Topics and ideas are welcome! Just contact or

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