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The United States Senate managed to a pass a bill on Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 22 that actually might begin to help the poor, who appear to be unequally affected by the federal government shutdown. The bill, H.R. 430, is framed to extend the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF) through June, 2019. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill last week when it reconvened under new Democratic party leadership.

TANF is the program that has provided commodity products at the Salida Community Center to help meet the food needs of local families, including senior citizens and the poor. Earlier this month, Dept. of Human Services Director Dave Henson had express apprehension that the program, out of funds since early December, would not be able to meet the needs of local families who rely upon that food distribution to make it through the month.

The bill enables the Dept. of Health and Human Services to distribute the second quarter payments to states. The bill also authorizes HHS to distribute the mandatory child care funding (Child Care Entitlement to States) which was also delayed.

The measure now goes to President Trump for his signature and Human Services officials are watching closely to see what he does. Upon enactment, the Dept. of Health and Human Services has advised Congress that it will take four business days for the second quarterly payments to be made.

Reported action on H.R.430 is available here: