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Update: The bill discussed in this article was passed 299-197 by the House of Representatives on May 16, 2002. The bill must now be considered by the Senate.
President Bush has proposed to increase the minimum work requirements for families receiving federal assistance as part of his proposed reauthorization of the 1996 welfare reform law.
As the first major upgrade to the landmark Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), the president's proposed welfare reform plan would:
Increase the number of hours per week welfare recipients would be required to work from 30 to 40 Require 70 percent of welfare recipients to hold jobs by 2007, up from 50 percent under the existing law Hold spending for welfare assistance grants at $16.5 billion in fiscal year 2003 Continue to ban legal immigrants from receiving welfare but would make them eligible for the food stamp program Background: The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 dramatically changed the U.S. welfare system by requiring work in exchange for assistance over a limited period of time. The old Aid for Dependent Children (AFDC) program was replaced by the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Under TANF, states must assess welfare recipients' skills and in most cases, recipients are required to have jobs after two years on assistance. In addition, families getting assistance for five cumulative years (or less at the state's option) are declared ineligible for further cash assistance.
President Bush praised the original welfare reform act of 1996 for having turned welfare into a system that "honors work, by requiring work, and helps people find jobs."
Other Elements of President Bush's Welfare Reform Agenda: In a speech announcing his proposal, President Bush stated "We must never be content with islands of despair in the midst of a nation of promise," and went on to outline an agenda for welfare reform he believes will strengthen families and help more welfare recipients move toward financial independence.
Protecting Children & Strengthening Families The president proposes to continue historically high levels of support for childcare by funding of $4.8 billion annually for the Child Care and Development Block Grant. Under current law, government keeps a substantial portion of the money collected to pay past-due child support in cases of families that have received welfare. The President?s proposal provides financial incentives for the states to give as much of this money as possible to mothers and children, especially mothers who have left welfare. The president's plan calls for funding up to $300 million for programs that encourage healthy, stable marriages, such as pre-marital education and counseling. "Statistics tell us that children from two parent families are less likely to end up in poverty, drop out of school, become addicted to drugs, have a child out of wedlock, suffer abuse or become a violent criminal and end up in prison. Building and preserving families are not always possible, I recognize that. But they should always be our goal." said the president.
Helping Welfare Recipients Achieve Independence
Under current law, at least 50% of welfare families are required to participate in work and other activities designed to help them get off welfare. The President?s plan would increase the work requirement by 5 percent per-year until reaching 70 percent in 2007. Under the president's plan, welfare recipients would be required to work 40 hours per week -- either at a job or in programs designed to help them achieve independence. The plan does make allowances for parents with infants and individuals who need substance abuse treatment, rehabilitation or special work-related training. The president's plan gives states greater flexibility in coordinating and streamlining a wide range of benefits programs designed to help families make a transition from welfare to work including food stamps, childcare, income supplements and transportation assistance. "Right now, there are hundreds -- hundreds -- of federal government programs to help low-income Americans achieve better lives. Unfortunately, recipients often find the different rules very confusing. Conflicting regulations are keeping people from getting the help they need when they need it," stated President Bush.
Urging All Americans to Help Fight Poverty Issuing a call for "soldiers in the armies of compassion," President Bush urged all Americans to look for ways to fight poverty in their local communities. Bush suggested that people visit the web page Web site to find out how to "put your good heart to work, to make America a hopeful and strong and decent country for all of us."
-------------------- "Six words: drop out, turn on, then come back and tune it in -and then drop out again, and turn on, and tune it back in-it's a rhythm- most of us think God made this universe in nature-subject object-predicate sentences-turn on, tune in, drop out- period, end of paragraph. Turn the page- it's all a rhythm- it's all a beat. You turn on, you find it inside, and then you have to come back (since you can't stay high all the time) and you have to build a better model. But don't get caught - don't get hooked - don't get attracted by the thing you're building, cause... you gotta drop out again. It's a cycle. Turn on, tune in, drop out. Keep it going, keep it going- the nervous system works that way. gotta keep it flowing- keep it flowing.
Quote: President Bush has proposed to increase the minimum work requirements for families receiving federal assistance as part of his proposed reauthorization of the 1996 welfare reform law.
While that's good news, truly good news would be the complete and total elimination of welfare. Stealing from the "haves" to give to the "have-nots" is wrong.
-------------------- You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for that my dear friend is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. ~ Adrian Rogers
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