Letter Urging Congressional Leaders to Extend TANF Program

The Honorable Chuck Grassley
Senate Committee on Finance
219 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Ron Wyden
Ranking Member
Senate Committee on Finance
219 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Richard E. Neal
House Committee on Ways and Means
2309 Cannon Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Kevin Brady
Ranking Member
House Committee on Ways and Means
1011 Longworth Building
Washington, DC 20515


Dear Chairman Grassley, Ranking Member Wyden, Chairman Neal, and Ranking Member Brady,

As a coalition of membership organizations representing the nation’s state legislatures, counties, cities, and state and local workforce and health and human services agencies, we are writing to urge you to provide a one-year extension to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, effective through December 31, 2021. TANF provides essential funding to help state and local governments deliver an array of services that help families with low-income achieve economic mobility. This support is of the utmost importance as our nation continues to grapple with the long-term economic and health impacts of the pandemic, which disproportionately affect low-income families and have resulted in state and local budget shortfalls.

Congress last reauthorized TANF in 2005 and has renewed the program through a series of short-term extensions that have largely left the program unchanged. Most recently, Congress passed the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 (H.R. 8337) extending TANF through December 11, 2020. This approach to policymaking has hindered efforts to modernize TANF in ways that lay the tracks to help people meet their full potential, talents, and skills. TANF modernization is needed to help our nation respond to the deeply rooted, multilayered barriers to economic well-being faced by millions in our country. During this one-year extension, we will work to build consensus for bipartisan policy reform that enables TANF agencies to best support the economic mobility and well-being of families.

There is much work ahead and we stand as allies and partners to advance outcomes that work. As we continue this work, we call on Congress at this pivotal time in our economic recovery to authorize a one-year TANF extension so that families can continue to access essential services. Thank you for the opportunity to bring this important matter to your attention.

Should you have questions or need further information, please contact Matthew Lyons at mlyons@aphsa.org.

Tracy Wareing Evans
President and CEO
American Public Human Services Association

Matthew D. Chase
Executive Director
National Association of Counties

Tim Storey
Executive Director
National Conference of State Legislatures

Tom Cochran
CEO and Executive Director
The United States Conference of Mayors

Clarence E. Anthony
Executive Director and CEO
National League of Cities

Marc A. Ott
Executive Director
International City/County Management Association

David Adkins
Executive Director/CEO
Council of State Governments

Claudia Tuck
National Association of County Human Services Administrators

Chris Morrill
Executive Director
Government Finance Officers Association

Ron Painter
President and CEO
National Association of Workforce Boards

Scott B. Sanders
President and CEO
National Association of State Workforce Agencies

Rep. Danny Davis, Chairman
Sen. Rob Portman, Chairman
Rep. Jackie Walorski, Ranking Member
Sen. Sherrod Brown, Ranking Member
Rep. Terri Sewell
Sen. Bill Cassidy
Rep. Brad Wenstrup
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto
Rep. Dwight Evans
Rep. Stephanie Murphy
Rep. Jimmy Gomez
Sen. Michael Bennett
Rep. Judy Chu
Sen. James Lankford
Rep. Ron Estes
Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr.
Rep. Gwen Moore
Sen. Todd Young
Rep. Tom Reed