On June 8, 2017, bipartisan legislation was introduced to support low-income Americans as they transition out of welfare and into the workforce. The legislation – entitled the “Accelerating Individuals into the Workforce Act (H.R. 2842)” and sponsored by Reps. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) and Danny Davis (D-IL) – is intended to expedite the time it takes for families to obtain employment. In the opening statement by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX), Brady cited the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which indicates that despite job openings at the highest level since the government began tracking in 2000, the labor force participation rate is at a near forty-year low. To address the opportunity of getting more Americans to work, the legislation proposes:
- To encourage employer-led partnerships with state and local agencies to hire recipients from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program; and,
- To provide recipients with highly-valued work experience and on-the-job training, including apprenticeships.
A look at the GovTrack website offers very little hope of the legislation being passed, with a 1% chance of the bill being enacted. The legislation does reflect ongoing efforts in the Republican-held House to support work efforts in exchange for receipts of any TANF recipients.