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Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 1720 - Family Welfare Reform Act of 1987

December 10, 1987


(Ford (D) TN and 68 others)

The administration opposes H.R. 1720, because it is not responsible welfare reform. If this bill were presented to the President, his senior advisers would recommend disapproval. Adoption of the amendments to H.R. 1720 to be offered by Rep. Andrews would not change this, recommendation. The administration endorses House passage of H.R. 3200, the amendment in the nature of a substitute, which provides for real welfare reform.

Although characterized by its sponsors as a bill designed to increase the employment of welfare recipients, 88 percent of the $6.2 billion new Federal spending in H.R. 1720 estimated by the Congressional Budget Office over the first five years would actually be devoted to increasing welfare benefits and eligibility. Furthermore, because many of the welfare provisions of H.R. 1720 do not take effect immediately, the five-year cost estimates for these provisions greatly understate their costs when fully implemented.

Five years of full implementation of H.R. 1720's welfare provisions would cost approximately $9.0 billion rather than the $6.2 billion CBO estimate for the first five years. The revenue measures included in H.R. 1720 will offset neither the costs of the first five years nor the annual costs of full implementation of the welfare provisions.

H.R. 1720's work, education, and training program does nothing to prevent long-term welfare dependency or ensure that meaningful numbers of welfare recipients participate in the program. Indeed, it contains provisions that greatly restrict States in helping recipients become self-sufficient.

Moreover,. H.R. 1720 does not contain badly needed provisions to allow States to test innovative, broad-based alternatives to the current welfare system. In addition, it includes numerous objectionable provisions, such as imposing more than $320 million per year, when fully implemented, in new costs on 25 States by requiring them to provide AFDC benefits to unemployed parents in two-parent households, and expanding coverage and benefits under the Food Stamp program.

H.R. 3200, in contrast to H.R. 1720, avoids the pitfall of moving welfare towards guaranteed annual income for those who can work — a so-called "welfare reform" that has been tested and discredited. Through its reforms of work-related activities and broad-based demonstration authority, it truly affords welfare recipients the opportunity for a life independent of welfare.

Ronald Reagan, Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 1720 - Family Welfare Reform Act of 1987 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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