Rep. Cook Votes for Welfare-to-Work Legislation
WASHINGTON – Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) today voted for H.R. 2842, The Accelerating Individuals into the Workforce Act. The bill passed the House of Representatives by an overwhelming bipartisan margin.
This bill connects low-income Americans looking for work with employers looking to fill job openings, including through apprenticeships and other forms of on-the-job training. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than 6 million job openings, the highest levels since the government started tracking this data in 2000.
This legislation provides funding for states to subsidize employment for a limited time for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients to provide work experience in exchange for benefits. The bill reserves $100 millionto test whether states subsidizing the wage of TANF recipients can be an effective means of helping them enter and remain in the workforce. While moving welfare recipients into employment is a central goal of TANF, some welfare recipients have a difficult time transitioning from welfare into a job. States may subsidize up to 50 percent of the recipients’ wages, with the remainder covered by the employer. The bill requires states to describe how wage subsidies will be provided and how they expect each individual to maintain employment when the subsidies end. States must also ensure that no one is laid off from the same or a substantially similar job to create positions for such participants.
Rep. Cook said, “We need to do more to move people into jobs. As the economy rebounds, we need to make sure we aren’t leaving people behind. This bill provides states and local communities with flexibility to determine what works and what doesn’t. It’s a good bill and a significant step in helping move people from welfare to work.”
A member of the House Foreign Affairs, Armed Services, and Natural Resources Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.