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Public Statements

Welfare Integrity Now for Children and Families Act of 2011

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. LEE of California. Madam Speaker, as the Co-Founder of the Congressional Out of Poverty Caucus, I rise in strong opposition to this shameful bill, H.R. 3567.

This is a distasteful and misleading bill that tries to make it seem like every American in poverty is somehow immoral or criminal.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The vast majority of TANF recipients want nothing more than a good job to support their families and build a bridge to reach their American Dream.

Now, no one wants TANF dollars to be spent in casinos or in adult entertainment venues, but this bill does nothing to actually prevent that. Shutting down ATM's in those locations doesn't stop the money being spent there. In addition, this bill would force states to certify nearly every small business as a non-liquor store and how are the standards to be established and maintained?

This bill would create an entire nation wide bureaucracy to address a problem that affects less than 4 one hundredths of one percent (.04%) of all TANF funds and would completely fail to save any money at all.

Instead of passing a jobs bill, Republicans are once again just looking to distract from the real issues, this time by attacking American families in need.

This bill is just a sad attempt to divide our nation by mimicking the Ronald Reagan myth about the Cadillac driving welfare queen. It was untrue then and it is still untrue today.

As a single mother who once relied on food stamps and assistance to get by during a very difficult period in my life, I am appalled to see Republican politicians attack struggling American families just because they need a helping hand. TANF benefits keep children in homes and in school. TANF benefits keep American families from suffering abject poverty.

What we should be doing is helping these families reignite their American Dreams, not making blanket accusations against every low income family in America.


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