Public Law 104–193 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act. Welfare Reform Act 1996. Background. Aid to Families with Dependent Children Proved to be ineffective. Drawing bipartisan criticism. Caseloads increased to unmanageable levels.
Public Law 104–193Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act
Welfare Reform Act 1996
Background Aid to Families with Dependent Children Proved to be ineffective. Drawing bipartisan criticism. Caseloads increased to unmanageable levels. Between 1936 and 1969, the number of families receiving support under AFDC increased from 162,000 to 1,875,000. Federal funding lagged behind inflation. Benefits falling 47% after adjusting for inflation.
GovernorTommy ThompsonWisconsin (R) Instituted comprehensive welfare reform at the state level. Lobbied the federal government to grant states greater latitude for implementing welfare (*devolution). “Workfare” Recipients had to work to receive assistance.
Welfare Reform Act Introduced by Rep. E. Clay Shaw, Jr. (FL-R). The culmination of years of debate over AFDC. A cornerstone of the Republican Congress’ “Contract with America.” Ultimately fulfilled President Clinton’s 1992 campaign promise to “end welfare as we know it.” “A reassertion of America's work ethic.” -U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Effectively replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). Granted states the ability to design their own program (*block grant), provided basic federal requirements are met: Ending welfare as an entitlement program. Requiring recipients to begin working after two years of receiving benefits (workfare). Placing a lifetime limit of five years on benefits paid. Encourage “two-parent families” over “out-of-wedlock births.” Enhancing enforcement of child support.
"The major goal of Public Law 104–193 [Welfare Reform Act] is to reduce the length of welfare spells by attacking dependency while simultaneously preserving the function of welfare as a safety net for families experiencing temporary financial problems.“ -House Ways and Means Committee
Consequence Welfare and poverty rates both declined during the late-’90s. Critics argue that a reduction in the number of welfare recipients was largely a result of steady economic growth in the years following the laws enactment. Othersquestion the definition of “success”. Whether the number of caseloads is an accurate measurement .
"The TANF program does not offer benefits sufficient to lift recipients out of poverty, and despite a strong economy, the majority of families who have moved off the TANF rolls have remained in poverty…Has welfare reform created job opportunities for the poor? Has it promoted wages that allow low-wage workers to escape poverty? In both of these areas, the economic story remains the same: we have little evidence that reform has produced achievements that warrant the label of success.“ -Joe Soss, political scientist