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Gwen M.
Democrat WI 4

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

    by Representative Gwen Moore

    Posted on 2013-03-13

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    MOORE. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Levin).

    I want to associate myself with all of the members from the distinguished Ways and Means Committee who have tried to explain to the majority authors of this bill that the waivers are narrowly offered and do not allow States to alter their work requirements.

    These waivers would only be granted to those States who prove that they can quantitatively increase the number of their welfare beneficiaries who find and keep jobs. This waiver is in keeping with the Republican mantra of States' rights and allowing them to be flexible.

    So we have heard a lot of hyperbole and exaggeration about what this does. And I think that really is in keeping with what we have heard about welfare reform since 1976, when Ronald Reagan trotted out the Welfare Queen, the woman who had 80 names, 30 addresses, and an annual income of $150,000 when you count Medicaid and food stamps, and who drove around in a Cadillac.

    So it's difficult to get people to listen when, as social and political scientists have said, these stereotypes have been driven for decades by gender and racial stereotypes. And I think that's what we're dealing with here today, Mr. Levin.

    We are not going to hear the level of levity that we need because I think that the low-wage workforce benefits tremendously by women, and particularly women of color, working for nothing. So the prospect of them getting customized labor training, in lieu of wiping down a table in a diner, is a little bit more than they can stand.

    You know, if, in fact, we're going to have true welfare reform where we're going to lift people out of poverty, then this bill is not the direction we should be taking.

    Mr. CAMP. At this time I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished gentleman from Tennessee, Dr. Roe.

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