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President Trump Signs Extension of Federal Welfare Program

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“While short-term extensions can be challenging for states, we are committed to working with Congress on a long-term reauthorization that provides certainty for states and families,” according to Scott Pattison, the executive director of the National Governors Association.

President Trump signed legislation Thursday to extend the federal welfare program, a move that that governors had agitated for as at least one state was close to running out of funding.

States manage the programs providing cash assistance, job training and other services to people who are out of work, while most of the funding comes from the federal government. But authorization for the $16.5 billion Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program expired when Trump didn’t sign legislation to keep all of the government open because the package lacked funding for a border wall with Mexico.

While the federal agency that runs TANF hasn’t been part of the partial government shutdown, Congress and the president still needed to act to reauthorize the program to keep the money flowing. On Jan. 20, the National Governors Association sent a letter to Congress urging them to move on an extension of the program through June 30, saying that states were propping up the program with limited leftover funds. North Carolina, for example, would no longer have TANF money by early next month, the NGA indicated.

“We are pleased to see Congress and the White House worked quickly to extend this critical program,” said Scott Pattison, the executive director and CEO of the bipartisan governors group. “While short-term extensions can be challenging for states, we are committed to working with Congress on a long-term reauthorization that provides certainty for states and families.”

Laura Maggi is Managing Editor of Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.

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