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Welfare Reform Act Introduced in U.S. House

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Advocating a smarter approach to break the cycle of poverty, Rep. Jim Jordan (OH-04), Chair of the Republican Study Committee, introduced the Welfare Reform Act of 2011 in the United States House of Representatives. Rep. Tim Scott (SC-01) and Rep. Scott Garrett (NJ-05) are principal cosponsors of the measure. Following introduction of the legislation, Rep. Scott issued the following statement:

"I am proud to be a principal co-sponsor of the Welfare Reform Act of 2011 and will work with my colleagues to see this measure advance through the House. This legislation builds upon the success of the 1996 reform that utilized a work-oriented policy to establish Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), by expanding it to the Food Stamp program. It also requires full disclosure of welfare spending totals in the President's Budget.

In addition to implementing a spending cap at the level of 2007, the bill offers incentives for states to increase self-sufficiency with a grant program, funded through other spending cuts contained therein, to reward them for the number of families determined to be above the poverty line. I fully recognize the number of Americans currently struggling to escape the bonds of poverty, and as such, emphasize that the spending caps contained in this legislation become effective on the first fiscal year after the unemployment rate is 6.5% or less.

We have seen welfare spending continue to rise dramatically, while the number of Americans living at or below the poverty level increases. Programs such as those contained in the Welfare Reform Act of 2011 seek to break the cycle of poverty and offer a path to self-reliance, and with it, self-respect."

Key Points on the Welfare Reform Act of 2011

* Building on the Success of 1996 -- TANF-like reforms will help food stamp recipients become self-reliant by requiring able-bodied adult beneficiaries to work or prepare for a job
* Disclosure of National Welfare Spending -- To provide taxpayers a clearer picture of the money they spend on means-tested welfare at all levels of government, each year the President's budget will report figures for total federal, state, and local welfare spending over the ensuing decade.

* Return to Pre-Recession Budget -- In the first budget written after unemployment falls to 6.5% or lower, overall federal spending on means-tested welfare will return to its 2007-level and be allowed to grow with inflation.

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