The 11 Federal Low-Income Programs Paul Ryan Wants to Consolidate

A man blows cellulose insulation in the attic of a Colorado home as part of the Energy Department's Weatherization Assistance Program. A man blows cellulose insulation in the attic of a Colorado home as part of the Energy Department's Weatherization Assistance Program. Energy Department file photo

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., on Thursday proposed consolidating 11 federal programs aimed at helping low-income Americans as part of his plan to combat poverty and increase upward mobility in this country. The possible 2016 presidential contender said combining such programs into an “Opportunity Grant” and providing states with more flexibility to tailor aid based on individual needs would improve the current fragmented and formulaic system of federal assistance.The idea would be to let states try different ways of providing aid and then to test the results—in short, more flexibility in exchange for more accountability,” Ryan said. The Wisconsin Republican said the plan would be voluntary for states and would not cut funding for the 11 programs. Democrats, however, expressed skepticism that the Ryan proposal would help low-income Americans, or avoid slashing funds from the programs slated for consolidation.

“The core idea of the Ryan proposal is not new,” said Maryland Democrat Chris Van Hollen, ranking member of the House Budget Committee. “It’s nothing more than a block grant gussied up with some bells and whistles.”

The programs Ryan targets for consolidation are managed by five different departments. In many cases, the programs comprise a large portion of the agencies’ annual budget. They are:

  • The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Formerly known as the food stamp program. (Agriculture Department)  
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families: Provides temporary financial assistance for pregnant women and families with one or more dependent children. (Health and Human Services Department)
  • Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program: Provides vouchers for very low-income families, the elderly and disabled to obtain affordable housing not limited to public housing projects. (Housing and Urban Development Department)
  • Section 521 Rural Rental Assistance Payments: Provides housing subsidies for low-income people in rural areas. (Agriculture)
  • Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance: Provides rental subsidies for eligible tenant families (including single persons) residing in newly constructed, rehabilitated and existing rental and cooperative apartment projects. (HUD) 
  • Public Housing Capital and Operating Funds: Allocates funds to public housing authorities for operating and maintaining public housing projects for low-income renters across the country. (HUD)
  • Child Care and Development Fund: Assists low-income families in obtaining child care so they can work, or attend training or education. (HHS)
  • The Weatherization Assistance Program: Provides grants to states, territories and some Indian tribes to improve the energy efficiency of the homes of low-income families. (Energy Department)
  • The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program: Aids low-income families with energy costs. (HHS)
  • Community Development Block Grant: Allocates grants to states and localities for various community needs ranging from affordable housing to revitalizing neighborhoods and promoting economic growth. (HUD)
  • Workforce Investment Act—Dislocated Workers Program: Helps eligible individuals find jobs through training and career counseling services. (Labor Department)

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.