When President Bill Clinton reluctantly signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, he had an idea of what the critical responses would be. The hope was to induce a program that would bring significant benefits to the needy and hungery people of our country. However, the response and criticisms are equivalent to what our president expected, very negative.
Mary Jo Bane believes the new welfare law poses serious dangers to poor children and families. As assistant secretary for children and families in the Department of Health and Human services, she supported the administration's efforts to refocus the welfare system on work and to increase state flexibility through the waiver process. But in the course of reviewing state welfare reform proposals, she became concerned that politics and financial pressures were pushing states into a "race to the bottom"(Bane). As long as the old law was in place the federal government could insist on guaranteed assistance and protections for recipients. Her fears about what would happen to poor children when states were no longer required to provide the modest assurances and protections we insisted on in waiver demonstrations led her to resign after President Clinton signed the welfare bill (Bane).
The reform takes away national level responsibilities and puts the money and responsibility into the individual states. A good amount of flexibility is provided, which may or may not result in a positive manner. For instance, they money could be used on the work reform and job preparation, while others could find loopholes in the laws, and while their purposes may not be malicious, the money would not truly be carrying out the role intended.
"No longer will cash assistance to dependent children be guaranteed by the federal government. Instead it will be provided, or not, by states using block grants." (Bane) This is the basic premise of the new bill....
Cited: Bane, Mary Jo. "Welfare as We Might Know It". Copyright 1997.
Political Science Quarterly. 40 par. 11 June, 1999
"The Issues, Welfare Reform"
CQ Researcher, December 6, 1996
Edelman, Peter. "The Worst Thing Bill Clinton Has Done" March 1997
The Atlantic Montly. 109 par. June 13, 1999
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