Temporary Assistance For Needy Families: Information Memorandum Constitutes Rule for the Purposes of the Congressional Review Act
B-323772: Sep 4, 2012
Senator Orrin Hatch, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Finance and Representative Dave Camp, Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means requested a GAO opinion on whether an Information Memorandum issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on July 12, 2012 concerning the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program constitutes a rule for purposes of the Congressional Review Act (CRA). The CRA is intended to keep Congress informed of the rulemaking activities of federal agencies and provides that before a rule can take effect, the agency must submit the rule to each House of Congress and the Comptroller General. GAO concluded that the Information Memorandum issued by HHS is a statement of general applicability and future effect, designed to implement, interpret, or prescribe law or policy with regard to TANF and is a rule under the Congressional Review. Therefore, under the CRA, it must be submitted to both Houses of Congress before it can take effect.
A press statement on the decision can be found here: http://www.gao.gov/press/statement_on_tanf2012sep04.htm