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Public Statements

Disapproving Rule Relating to Waiver and Expenditure Authority with Respect to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. WOOLSEY. Well, here we are, Mr. Speaker, 24 hours before the majority closes shop and sends us home for 7 weeks, and what are we debating?

Are we talking about creating jobs for families who are struggling to make ends meet and wondering what happened to the American Dream? No, of course not. Instead, we're taking up yet another divisive partisan measure that will do nothing to kick-start the economy or help people who have been kicked in the teeth by this recession.

The Obama administration's TANF waivers promote work. They allow States the flexibility. For example, they allow States to consider education as work, providing education and training, to move people off welfare so that they can find jobs that actually pay a living wage so they can support their families.

Mr. Speaker, I've been on public assistance. I know what it's like. It's a bad, bad feeling. It doesn't make you proud. I did it because I had to, certainly not because I wanted to.

I would wake up in the middle of the night frozen in fear of what would happen if one of my three children, they were 1, 3 and 5 years old, got ill. What if they broke an arm. They were rowdy little kids. What if they grew out of their shoes before I planned to buy new shoes? It was a very scary time.

The day that I went off welfare was the day that I celebrated because I didn't need it. I could stand on my own two feet. But I guess we shouldn't be surprised by this debate. The majority party's current standard bearer has said he believes 47 percent of the American people are essentially--and that would have been me back there with my children--freeloaders and parasites who don't take responsibility for themselves. That's outrageous and it is class warfare.

Denigrating the poor and the middle class is a favorite strategy on the right. It should be creating jobs, but it doesn't seem to be the way they go.

I would like to suggest, Mr. Speaker, that we stop all this tomfoolery and we think about the people in this country. We know we have a job to do, and that job should be done before we leave here.

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