"[G]iven some of the uncertainty around that legislation, it makes sense to ensure that the TANF program continues to assist families past Dec. 31, when its current authorization expires," Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) said Thursday.

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) likely spoke for most Democrats when he said he supports the bill reluctantly. Doggett said he would like to see a TANF extension longer than just through 2012, and said the bill raises the prospect of more fighting over the welfare program during next year's election.

"Now, they extend it only for another nine months, assuring that during the height of the 2012 campaign season next year, they'll have an opportunity to blame the poor for whatever questionable anecdote arises in the meantime," Doggett said.

The GOP bill would prevent welfare recipients from using their payments at strip clubs, liquor stores and casinos, which is allowed under current law.

"This loophole currently allows individuals to access welfare benefits at ATMs, in strip clubs, liquor clubs and casinos," Paulsen said. "This provision insists that all states will take the necessary steps to end this abusive practice, which has been highlighted in news stories across the country."