Welfare recipients who make it rain on the government’s dime could land in trouble if a House bill is passed. Lawmakers are looking to pass legislation that would bar those enrolled in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program from spending benefits at strip clubs, liquor stores, and casinos.
TANF, which was formerly known as welfare, often takes the form of electronic benefit transfer cards that function like debit cards. These cards can be swiped at some ATMs to retrieve money. Media reports indicated that some TANF recipients were using their cards at ATMs in strip clubs, liquor stores, casinos, and even on cruise ships.
While supporters say this bill will eliminate a large amount of fraud and waste in the welfare system, critics state that many states already have similar policies, and that residents of poorer neighborhoods frequently do not have an ATM located closer to them than those in liquor stores or casinos.
Having been passed overwhelmingly in the House, the bill now moves on to the Senate.
Is this a logical limitation on welfare spending, or does it unfairly impact those who need these benefits? Let us know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org.
–Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPlace Money & Politics Editor
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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