Tags: Bush | Promotes | More | Welfare | Reform

Bush Promotes More Welfare Reform

Monday, 13 May 2002 12:00 AM

"As we reauthorize the welfare bill, it is essential that a central component of that bill be work. We must set high standards. Over the next five years, the states, and working with the local governments, ought to place 70 percent of the people into a job. It is important not only for our society, it's important for the people," Bush said.

Bush has recently campaigned for his welfare reform proposals, which would stiffen requirements for people receiving assistance from taxpayers. The House is set to vote on the measure this week.

On Friday, the president was in Ohio touting his "Ticket to Independence" welfare initiative, which would give states flexibility in creating welfare programs that would promote self-sufficiency.

"The best way to help people get off welfare is to empower local folks; is to recognize one size doesn't fit all; is to recognize that the more options there are at the local level, the more opportunity it is for people to succeed," Bush said.

Afterward, Bush traveled to the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers to participate in a fund-raiser for Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan, locked in a tight gubernatorial battle with a former prosecutor, Democrat Rep. Rod Blagojevich. The event was expected to raise $2.2 million.

Seated on a stool in a United Parcel Service warehouse with microphone in hand, Bush defended his proposals that leftist critics have derided as strict. Bush has asked Congress to build on the 1996 law with additional provisions as they consider reauthorization of the measure.

Bush's plan would require welfare recipients to work 40 hours a week either at a job or programs designed to help them achieve independence, a 10-hour increase from the mandate of the 1996 law.

Bush's proposal would continue to provide $4.8 billion a year for child care through the Child Care and Development Block Grant, food stamps for legal immigrants for five years after entry into the United States, and continue the five-year ban on welfare benefits for non-citizens entering the country after 1996.

The White House is also asking Congress to fund Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant at $16.5 billion a year through 2007. Funds from that grant are channeled directly to individual states.

"The welfare rolls have declined in half, yet the dollars are the same, which ought to be ample money to help people with training or drug treatment, to give them a chance so that they can work, and realize the dignity of a job," Bush said.

The landmark welfare reform law, called the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, forever changed the relationship between the federal government and Americans receiving public assistance. For the first time in three decades it required recipients to either find work, a work "activity" such as volunteerism, or to risk a reduction or complete loss of their monthly financial assistance.

Groups such as National Organization for Women and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People claim that Bush's proposals would make it more difficult for poor women, immigrants and low-wage workers to make ends meet. NAACP wants the White House to drop its provision banning benefits to illegal aliens. Critics also have expressed dismay over the pro-family provision that would promote marriage.

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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As we reauthorize the welfare bill, it is essential that a central component of that bill be work. We must set high standards. Over the next five years, the states, and working with the local governments, ought to place 70 percent of the people into a job. It is important...
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2002-00-13
Monday, 13 May 2002 12:00 AM
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