As of December 9, 2012, the online version of the Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) listed 2,187 federal assistance programs, across all federal agencies and departments that provide grants and awards to recipients.22
The Carleson Center for Welfare Reform (CCWR) conducted a program-by-program review of the CFDA to identify those that could be consolidated into seven major block grants to the states: Medicaid, Nutrition, Supplemental Security Income for the Disabled, Housing, Cash Welfare Assistance (TANF), Employment and Training, and Community Development.
All the programs chosen for inclusion in a block grant were identified as either “means-tested” or “means-targeted.” Means-tested programs apply a specific income and/or asset test to determine an individual beneficiary’s eligibility for program benefits; means-targeted programs provide funding to private organizations or state and local governments to deliver services or benefits to “low-income” populations or to provide economic or community development assistance for low-income or economically distressed areas or populations.
The CCWR also recommends that several welfare-related programs be eliminated because the programs either do not provide specific services to beneficiaries or the funding is focused on the needs of the welfare bureaucracy, public or private, and not on beneficiaries. Many of these programs provide money to train community organizers in how to grow their organizations; coordinate their federal, state, and local advocacy efforts; apply for federal grants; lobby for additional federal money, and even organize public housing tenants against their landlords. Many other programs pay for private organizations to upgrade computers, cell phones, and other technology at federal taxpayers’ expense.
Several programs that received no funding in FY 2011 have been included in the list recommended for elimination or in the block grants. This was done to ensure their statutory authority is repealed to prevent the programs being used as an end-run around the proposed block grants — by serving as alternative conduits for increased federal welfare spending.
The review of the CFDA yielded almost 130 programs that, together with Medicaid, TANF, Food Stamps, Public Housing, the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), the current Community Development Block Grant, and SSI-D, we recommend be consolidated into seven streamlined block grants with funding going directly to the states from the Treasury Department — thus by-passing and rendering unnecessary the bloated federal welfare bureaucracy and the need for states to comply with its edicts.
Models for the block grants as proposed were introduced in the last (112th) Congress and again this Congress:
It should be noted that the CCWR intentionally did not include in its review federal programs that provide benefits to narrowly defined groups or targeted populations based on factors other than poverty. Specifically excluded were programs funded by employees through their paychecks, or programs for veterans, Native Americans, at-risk youth and other populations targeted on some basis other than income. Education programs at all levels, medical assistance for victims of specific chronic diseases, and juvenile justice and other justice-system related services were also specifically excluded since taxpayer funding for such programs involves important considerations outside the scope of public policy involving welfare assistance for low-income individuals.
Temporary programs created and funded as part of the so-called 2009 Stimulus bill were also not included in any of the review recommendations because the majority of the programs and their funding have expired. Similarly, new “ObamaCare” programs were excluded because most have either not commenced or their funding and applicability in the future is in doubt.
In addition, while the CFDA lists numerous employment and training programs whereby the federal government provides grants and awards to state and local government and private non-profit entities, it does not list many other federal programs in which the federal government itself provides employment and training services by contracting directly with private entities and firms. Such direct contracting services are not listed as part of the CFDA and, thus, are not part of the review or specifically included in the recommendations. However, Congress should consider including such federal programs as part of any employment and training block grant proposal.
|Appendix J:||RSC Summary: H.R. 567, the State Health Flexibility Act (PDF – 915 KB)|
|Appendix K:||RSC FAQs: H.R. 4160 (Now HR 567,) the State Health Flexibility Act (PDF – 257 KB)|
|Appendix L:||Text of H.R. 567: House Introduced Medicaid/SCHIP Block Grant Bill (PDF – 228 KB)|
|Appendix P:||RSC Summary: H.R. 1355, the State Nutrition Assistance Flexibility Act (PDF – 857 KB)|
|Appendix Q:||Text of H.R. 1355: House Introduced Food Stamp Block Grant Bill (PDF – 223 KB)|