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Dirk Kempthorne on Welfare & Poverty

Republican Governor (ID) and previously Senator


Voted YES on welfare block grants.

Replacement of federal welfare guarantee with block grants to the states.
Status: Conf Rpt Agreed to Y)78; N)21; NV)1
Reference: Conference Report on H.R. 3734; Bill H.R. 3734 ; vote number 1996-262 on Aug 1, 1996

Voted NO on eliminating block grants for food stamps.

Vote to not allow states the option of getting food stamp funds as a block grant administered by the state, rather than as a federal program, if they meet certain criteria.
Reference: Bill S 1956 ; vote number 1996-218 on Jul 23, 1996

Voted YES on allowing state welfare waivers.

Vote on a procedural motion to allow consideration of an amendment to express the Sense of Congress that the president should approve the waivers requested by states that want to implement welfare reform.
Reference: Bill S.1956 ; vote number 1996-208 on Jul 19, 1996

Voted YES on welfare overhaul.

Approval of an overhaul on the federal welfare system.
Status: Bill Passed Y)87; N)12; NV)1
Reference: Contract w/ America (Welfare Refm); Bill H.R. 4 ; vote number 1995-443 on Sep 19, 1995

Maintain federal Social Services Block Grant funding.

Kempthorne adopted the National Governors Association position paper:

The Issue

Despite an ongoing need to provide social services to families, the elderly, and the disabled, federal funding for the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) has been cut dramatically over the past few years, indicating a weakening of the historic state-federal partnership to serve needy Americans. In 1996, as part of the historic welfare reform agreement, Congress agreed to provide the states $2.38 billion each year for SSBG. Since that time, funding has been chipped away little by little. This year, SSBG is funded at $1.725 billion.

NGAís Position

The nationís Governors have consistently supported the broad flexibility of the SSBG and are adamantly opposed to cuts in federal funding for the program. Governors believe that funding for SSBG is among the most valuable federal investment that can be made for the nationís most vulnerable population. Further cuts will be difficult for state and local governments to absorb and will cause a disruption in the delivery of the most critical human services. Governors believe that funding for SSBG should be restored to $2.38 billion, and transferability should be permanently restored to 10 percent, the levels that were agreed to as part of the 1996 welfare reform law.

In 1996, Governors reluctantly agreed to a slight reduction in funding for SSBG, from $2.8 billion to $2.38 billion, with the understanding that funding would remain at $2.38 billion through fiscal 2002, and then return to $2.8 billion. However, the federal government has consistently broken that promise. The nationís Governors strongly urge Congress and the administration to reject the proposed cuts and to restore funding and flexibility to the program.

Source: National Governors Association "Issues / Positions" 01-NGA14 on Sep 7, 2001

Maintain flexibility & funding levels for TANF block grants.

Kempthorne adopted the National Governors Association position paper:

The Issue

The 1996 welfare reform law, including the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant, needs to be reauthorized before September 30, 2002.

NGAís Position

    In 1996, the Governors, Congress, and the administration entered into a historic welfare reform agreement. In exchange for assuming the risk involved with accepting the primary responsibility for transforming the welfare system from one of dependency to self-sufficiency, Governors agreed to guaranteed funding for the life of the TANF block grant along with significant flexibility to administer federal programs. The current NGA policy on welfare reform makes three key points:
  1. Maintain flexibility. The TANF block grant was created so that states could develop innovative approaches to addressing welfare reform, and states have been successful in tailoring their programs to meet the individual needs of their citizens. This flexibility must be maintained so that states can continue the progress of welfare reform.
  2. Maintain investment. States are provided with $16.5 billion each year in federal TANF funds, which together with the required state maintenance-of-effort funds, finance welfare reform. Some will argue that the funding should be cut because of the dramatic drop in caseloads. But TANF is no longer just about cash assistance - states are now serving a much broader population than under the old welfare system, and states are now providing services to families that help them succeed and advance in the workplace, not just cutting a check for cash each month.
  3. Move toward greater program alignment. The Food Stamp Program is one example of a program that is in great need of reform, and its connection to welfare reform should be discussed in the context of reauthorization. Other related programs that should be considered include child support, child welfare, housing, the Workforce Investment Act and Medicaid.
Source: National Governors Association "Issues / Positions" 01-NGA17 on Sep 21, 2001

  • Click here for definitions & background information on Welfare & Poverty.
  • Click here for policy papers on Welfare & Poverty.
  • Click here for a profile of Dirk Kempthorne.
  • Click here for VoteMatch responses by Dirk Kempthorne.
Other candidates on Welfare & Poverty: Dirk Kempthorne on other issues:
Obama Administration:
Pres.Barack Obama
V.P.Joe Biden
State:John Kerry
DHS:Janet Napolitano
DoD:Chuck Hagel
A.G.:Eric Holder
HHS:Kathleen Sebelius
USDA:Tom Vilsack

First Obama Administration:
State:Hillary Clinton
Staff:Rahm Emanuel
DOT:Ray LaHood
DOI:Ken Salazar
DOL:Hilda Solis

Former Bush Administration:
State:Colin Powell
State:Condi Rice
EPA:Christie Whitman

Former Clinton Administration:
HUD:Andrew Cuomo
V.P.Al Gore
Labor:Robert Reich
A.G.:Janet Reno
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Page last updated: Mar 09, 2014