Sen. Mike Lee: Bill Reinstates Work for Welfare, Removes 'Poverty Trap'

Image: Sen. Mike Lee: Bill Reinstates Work for Welfare, Removes 'Poverty Trap'

Wednesday, 12 Feb 2014 09:30 PM

By Greg Richter

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The 2009 stimulus bill removed the longstanding requirement for able-bodied welfare recipients to have jobs. Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah on Wednesday introduced a bill to bring the requirement back.

Lee's "Welfare Reform and Upward Mobility Act"  is intended to move people out of poverty by encouraging them to find jobs, Lee said Wednesday on Fox News Channel's "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren."

"We have federal policy right now that artificially keeps people in poverty," Lee said. "It creates a poverty trap."

Lee said the law currently removes welfare benefits altogether when a person gets a low-paying, entry-level job. In many cases, people are better off financially staying on welfare.

The law would apply only to able-bodied people capable of work. If they can't find jobs, they would be required to attend training programs or volunteer.

Those were the same requirements made by the 1996 Welfare Reform Act, passed by a Republican Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton.

Clinton in 2012 denied claims by Mitt Romney that Obama's stimulus law impacted welfare reform, saying the 1996 law had required states to set up programs, and that those were still in effect.

Lee said Wednesday that some states have such laws, but that a uniform federal rule is needed.

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