Steve Cohen

11/19/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/19/2019 18:40

Congressman Cohen Applauds State Decision to Spend Down $732 Million TANF Surplus

WASHINGTON - Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today applauded the Tennessee Department of Human Services announcement that it would begin distributing some of the $732 million in unspent block grant funding for the Temporary Assistance to Needy Family programs that support Tennessee families. But he expressed disappointment that $342 million will still be retained as a reserve surplus.

Congressman Cohen wrote Governor Bill Lee on November 6 demanding answers about why funding for low-income workers was being held in reserve. In a state ranked 10th in the nation for its high poverty rate, Congressman Cohen said the decision was either 'mismanagement of federal dollars' or a deliberate choice not to help needy families. See that letter here.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

'I was extremely disappointed when I learned that money intended for families in need was instead being kept as a rainy day fund. I met with Governor Lee in Washington last week and he told me some action would be taken by DHS, and I commend him for taking a step in the right direction. Today's announcement is a welcome, although a belated and only partial correction of a very big mistake and should be a lesson: every day is a rainy day for Tennessee families who struggle to makes ends meet.'