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Danny D.
Democrat IL 7

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  • Preserving the Welfare Work Requirement and Tanf Extension Act of 2013

    by Representative Danny K. Davis

    Posted on 2013-03-13

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    DAVIS of Illinois. Mr. Speaker, rarely have I been a fan of the concept that one size fits all. Therefore, I find it necessary to not be in favor of this legislation. However, I am strongly in favor of TANF. TANF is a greatly needed program. It provides temporary assistance to needy families, and we need to try to make those programs as effective as we possibly can. TANF is designed to help people who may have become parents too soon. Their jobs may have gone out of business. They may have dropped out of school, don't have much in the way of formal education and training, and may even have a prison record.

    In order to provide the most effective help, their State may need the flexibility to design and implement the best program they possibly can. They may even have clients who have three or four children and no husband or no wife. They may need babysitting help and cannot find it. They may need a waiver. I agree with the administration's position; and if a State determines that they can do a better job with the waiver, and Health and Human Services agrees, then they ought to be able to get one.

    I've been told, and I believe, that if you give a man or woman a fish, they can eat for a day; but you teach them how to fish effectively, and they can eat for a lifetime. I disapprove of this restriction on this bill.

    Mr. CAMP. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished gentleman from Florida (Mr. Southerland), a cosponsor of the underlying bill.

    Mr. SOUTHERLAND. Mr. Speaker, I thank Mr. Chairman for yielding me time this afternoon.

    I am proudly standing here as an original cosponsor of this bill, H.R. 890. I think today gives us an opportunity, Mr. Speaker, to speak with clarity and say once and for all, regardless of the interpretations and regardless of the arguments on this floor, that we require an individual, before they benefit and they take, that they must work. I think it is a very safe thing for us to do. It mirrors the culture of this country down through the years.

    You know, I support these requirements because working is the best way to lift people out of poverty and give them the opportunity for earned success. I remember in my youth, my father, he clearly made us work. He made us understand the value of hard work. It wasn't a punishment; it wasn't cruel. He knew that through hard work that our character would be molded, and we would understand that through work and through the sweat of our brow that we would find the destiny for our own lives.

    I think today what this body should do, and will do, is clarify that the work requirements of TANF is a good thing. These work requirements are bipartisan. We've all heard on the floor today the bipartisan effort between Republicans and Democrats alike during 1996. What we're saying is they were good then, and they are good today. Most importantly, I am pleased with what occurred back in the mid-nineties. When you're talking about almost 73 percent of those who were on welfare moved to work, that's a positive thing for the lives of the American people.

    {time} 1620 The administration's unprecedented actions are clearly circumventing this law and the will of the people, with over 83 percent of Americans today believing that these work requirements are a positive thing.

    It's common sense, it's a self-evident truth: if you want a positive future, you must help create that, and part of that requirement is that you must work.

    I urge my colleagues today to join me in supporting H.R. 890 because it returns us to the real work of helping people who need it most.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Camp) has 15 minutes remaining. The gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Levin) has 15 minutes remaining.

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