Dean Opposes Bush's Welfare Reform Proposal
(Host) Governor Howard Dean says he strongly opposes a plan by the Bush administration to make significant changes to the current welfare reform law. Dean told members of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday that the changes will hurt the effectiveness of the program because they will give individual states a lot less flexibility in administering the work requirements of the law.
Under the existing law, 50% of a state's welfare recipients must work 30 hours a week to receive their benefits. The Bush proposal would increase the work requirement to 40 hours a week and 75% of all recipients would have to comply with this mandate.
Dean says the proposal is shortsighted and counter productive:
(Dean) "If you set a higher standard for women who are low-income, who are single moms, than you do for everybody else. It doesn't make any sense and the end result is going to be that, instead of doing the training and the support that we have done so very successfully, we're going to have to create make-work programs that aren't going to lead to advancement. They're going to be in the public sector they're going to be expensive and when the budget crisis hits, the make-work programs go away."
(Host) Dean says he's working with a bipartisan group of governors to convince Congress to oppose the Bush welfare proposals, and the governor is optimistic that the group's efforts will be successful.