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    Since 2007, the Ohio Workforce Coalition has been bringing together leaders from education and training institutions, economic and workforce development organizations, business and industry, labor, and human service providers. The Coalition promotes public policies that build the skills of adult workers, meet employer skill needs, and strengthen the workforce system to ensure opportunity and prosperity for Ohio families.

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Urgent action needed to protect TANF Emergency Funds

FROM CLASP:

The Senate will vote on the Murray/Kerry Amendment tomorrow (Tuesday) morning. It still is not fully offset (but is close) so it will need 60 votes.

The message that you need to convey to your Senators is to vote FOR the Murray/Kerry Amendment and AGAINST the Republican Substitute.

The Republicans offered an alternative amendment that requires states to reduce by 10 percentage points the fraction of individuals counted in the work rate that have zero hours of participation. The penalty is to reduce the block grant in succeeding years by the amount states spent in the year in which they failed.? The states that would be affected by this amendment if the publicly available data for 2008 was used are listed at the bottom of this e-mail (below the signature line.) The amendment also rescinds unobligated stimulus funds which states may already have plans for using. The Republican alternative only need 51 votes to pass.

IT IS CRITICAL THAT YOU CONVEY THE IMPORTANCE OF VOTING AGAINST the Republican Side-by-Side.

There are four key reasons to offer for why Senators should vote against it.

First, the TANF legislation does not require states to meet a “zero-hours’ standard so this is imposing an entirely new requirement on them during a time when unemployment remains extremely high.

Second, it establishes new rules for expenditures states have already spent (for previous quarters that have not been claimed yet) or are planning to spend and provides them with very little time to make any changes to meet the proposed standards.

Third, the requirements are administratively impossible to implement. The most recent work rate data is only available for 2008.This requirement would be based on data for FY 2010.

Fourth, it rescinds ARRA funds to cover the cost of the amendment.

Because we need 60 votes, we need to make sure that we have every Democratic Senator and at least a few Republican Senators on board. We need to especially focus on the Moderate Democrats who may need some reassurance of the importance of this for their state.

States with Republican Senators where we think we may be able to pick up some support include the following: Maine, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, and Texas. States where we need to work extras hard to make sure that the Democrats are on board include: Indiana, Nebraska, Colorado, Wisconsin, Missouri, Louisiana, Virginia and Florida.

If you think there is any hesitation on voting for the TANF extension and expansion, then you should do everything possible to sell the summer youth employment component of the amendment.

We also need to make sure to send the message that it is important not to vote for any amendments that would weaken the Murray/Kerry amendment, as currently written.

Also, if you receive any questions about it not being fully paid for, you can indicate that there are continuing efforts t make sure that it is fully paid for.

Please let me know if you get any word on how Senators that you contact are planning to vote.

Donna

LaDonna Pavetti
Director, Welfare Reform and Income Support
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
820 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 408-1080
pavetti@cbpp.org

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