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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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CLASP Legislative update

Senator Baucus has released language for a new version of the “extenders” bill. His statement is at http://finance.senate.gov/newsroom/chairman/release/?id=17f14745-0d33-4cac-9c0a-504e632e39b7 where you can also find the bill language and summaries.

This bill does include an extension of the TANF Emergency Fund through September 30, 2011. The provision general follows prior versions of the bills that have passed the House and come to the Senate floor in prior attempt to pass with two changes:

* The funding provided for the one-year extension is $1.5 billion. This is a $1 billion reduction from the $2.5 billion in prior versions and the Administration’s request. State maximum amounts would remain at 30 percent of the state’s block grant (when combined with any contingency funds received.) HHS would have the authority to adjust the maximums down if it looks like states will exhaust the funds.

* The basic assistance category no longer contains a “caseload increase” trigger. As states would still need to increase spending on basic assistance to receive funding in this category, it does not appear that this would have any significant impact on state eligibility or award amounts.

The bill would also extend the basic block grant for a year, extend the supplemental grants, provide $293 million for the “regular” Contingency Fund in 2011, and make some tweaks to the reporting requirements and marriage/fatherhood grants.

It is not clear whether this bill is going to move in the next two weeks – Senator Baucus attempted to get unanimous consent on it, which did not happen. Therefore, the message should continue to be to extend the Emergency Fund by September 30th, by whatever vehicle is available. This may be the extenders bill, it may be the Continuing Resolution.

HHS has updated their list of approved applications, and so we’ve updated our documents. As always, all of the resources can be found at http://www.clasp.org/TANFEmergencyFund

To Note: The total amount approved from the emergency fund is now $4.288 billion and as of September 16, and Tennessee joined the ten states (Maryland, Colorado, New Jersey, New York, Michigan, Delaware, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, and Washington) that have drawn down their entire allocations. Furthermore Vermont drew down funds for subsidized employment making the total number of states 37.

Thanks for all your hard work

Elizabeth Lower-Basch
Senior Policy Analyst
CLASP | 1200 18th Street NW | Suite 200 | Washington, DC 20036 p (202) 906-8013 | f (202) 842-2885 | elowerbasch@clasp.org

P.S. The documents:
– “TANF Emergency Fund: Applications Approved” – http://www.clasp.org/resources_and_publications/publication?id=0758&list=publications
– “TANF Emergency Fund Creates Jobs Now” – http://www.clasp.org/admin/site/publications/files/Emergency-Fund-Extension.pdf
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