September 16, 2002



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The TANF reauthorization bill passed by the House of Representatives on May 16 contains a proposal to grant sweeping authority to the Executive Branch to override, at the request of a governor and, in some cases, a local government, nearly all provisions of federal law that govern a range of low-income and other domestic programs.  Under this "superwaiver" proposal, Executive Branch officials would have virtually unfettered authority to approve waivers that effectively rewrite federal laws and alter the fundamental nature of affected programs.  The Executive Branch could approve waivers that allow states to use federal funds in ways not authorized by Congress and negate provisions of federal law that target program funds to particular needy populations.  Although the superwaiver proposal is included in TANF reauthorization legislation, it applies to a number of other programs, including public housing, some of the largest federal homelessness programs, food stamps, child care, job training, and adult education programs.

  Earlier CBPP papers have examined the superwaiver proposal’s overall implications (see and its potential impact on the food stamp program (see This analysis examines the  proposal’s implications for homelessness programs and public housing.  It finds:

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