Senate GOP Blocks Program That Created 250,000 Jobs

September 29, 2010 4:39 pm ET — Chris Harris

Sen. Mike Enzi

With the economy struggling to recover from the worst recession in a generation, Americans are pleading for Washington to focus on jobs.  Attempting to deliver for their constituents, Senate Democrats today pushed to extend a jobs program known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF.  The wildly successful program expires tomorrow and must be extended in order to continue supporting jobs.

Following a long line of Republican obstructionists, Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) objected to an effort by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) to pass a three month extension of TANF before recess.

Not only is Enzi's objection emblematic of the GOP's do-nothing approach to governing, but his insistence on gumming up the process in DC will hurt thousands of families struggling in this economy.  According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the program supports "jobs for some 250,000 parents and youth who are otherwise unemployed, many of whom have been without work for some time."

And it isn't a partisan issue.  Stalwart conservative Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS) supports it, saying the program "will provide much-needed aid during this recession by enabling businesses to hire new workers, thus enhancing the economic engines of our local communities."

CBPP rightly concludes:

The subsidized jobs supported by the TANF Emergency Fund have helped families get work and income and have helped employers maintain and even expand in tight times. That, in turn, has given a needed boost to communities trying to recover from the recession. Moreover, families that are stable, housed, and employed are better able to support the community - economically and otherwise - and are less likely to require local social services.

The current economic recovery is far too fragile to end these programs now. Rather than walk away, Congress should extend the TANF Emergency Fund for one more year so that states can continue subsidized jobs placements in local communities.