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

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. WALBERG. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

There has been 8 percent unemployment for 43 straight months. I think the record speaks for itself.

I come from the great State of Michigan, where a Governor, like a number of others in this great country, now is trying to do everything possible to undermine the malaise that is going on with lack of employment in this country because of the wrong approach to helping people with the dignity of work.

In the eighties and nineties in Michigan, we struggled with high unemployment. We struggled with a welfare system that was putting people really in servitude, and in many cases against their own will and their own desires. They wanted to work.

I still have at my home office copies of leaflets that were handed to people coming from other States to Michigan because it said you can cross the line and immediately get welfare assistance with no work requirements and no residency requirements. We struggled with that.

Then in 1994, under a Republican administration and through the efforts of many of us, we put through what we called ``workfare-edufare reform'' and promoted the dignity of individuals with an opportunity to work. We saw amazing results begin to take place not overnight, but almost. We heard testimonies of people who were formerly on welfare assistance saying, I didn't really think it would work, but I can now say on my own I am paying for my own way and my kids. I have got an education. I have got work now that gives me dignity. And I'm moving forward.

We've continued on with that. And now here, when Governors have asked for some flexibility with TANF--not asking for the removal of work requirements--we're going to do that. Well, I said ``no,'' and I'm glad our committee has said ``no,'' and we've moved forward with this resolution that speaks to the dignity and the value of individuals, but also of the work experience, the educational experience, and training for that.

We don't want to move backwards. We don't want to put further roadblocks in the way of achieving all that America and its dream can be. We don't have to. We can support a resolution like this. We can spur our President, this administration, on to doing the right thing for the right people. That's the American people, people that will work with dignity and achieve things for the future.

This country is great. Let's work together. Let's pass this resolution, H.J. Res. 118.


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