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Thursday, March 17, 2011
House Republicans Introduce Welfare Reform Act of 2011
By Heritage Foundation @ 7:41 PM :: 5257 Views :: National News, Ethics
Related Work
Watch: Welfare Can and Must be Reformed

Confronting the Unsustainable Growth of Welfare Entitlements: Principles of Reform and Next Steps, Katherine Bradley

Obama to Spend $10.3 Trillion on Welfare, Robert Rector, Katherine Bradley, and Rachel Sheffield

Culture Round Up
The personal responsibility demonstrated by Brigham Young University’s Brandon Davies in admitting his violation of the school’s Honor Code coincides with an increase in abstinence among young adults.
Displaying the important role of religious practice in civil society, faith-based organizations around the country are addressing poverty and social breakdown by meeting the physical and relational needs of low-income communities.

Coming Soon
March 23, 12:00 – 1:00 pm,
The Rise of Nihilism and Loss of Identity: An Analysis of a Cultural Crisis Among African-Americans,
The Heritage Foundation

Kay James of the Gloucester Institute will host Dr. Carl Ellis, Jr. for a lecture
on how family breakdown and a decrease in the church’s influence have led to a loss of identity in the African-American community. Restoring confidence in the values of family and faith held by many African-Americans can help overcome the crisis in black culture.

Solutions for America


Updating What Works - The Welfare Reform Act of 2011

Despite a nearly five-decade war against poverty in the United States, millions of American families are no closer to escaping poverty, and taxpayers are no closer to seeing a return on their enormous investment. Since President Lyndon Johnson first rallied the troops against poverty in 1964, American taxpayers have spent $16 trillion on means-tested services and support. In 2010 alone, the U.S. spent nearly $900 billion on welfare. If the trend continues, Americans can expect to pay over $10 trillion on more than 70 federal welfare programs over the next decade. Despite this enormous annual cost of assistance for the poor, 43 million Americans are still living at or below the poverty level, a minimal decline since the 1960s.

Spending has skyrocketed with few overall results, but policymakers have a good model of success in the 1996 welfare reform legislation. By introducing work requirements for cash assistance and limiting funding to states through block grants, the 1996 legislation that reformed one welfare program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), saw welfare rolls cut in half, helping millions of families achieve self-sufficiency. The successes of the mid-1990s, however, applied only to one program. There are still more than 70 other means-tested assistance programs that are badly in need of updating.

Policymakers can build on the foundation for reform that was laid 15 years ago. By applying the same principles of frugal budgeting and employment incentives found in TANF to other welfare programs, Members of Congress can promote personal responsibility and self-sufficiency and permanently lift people out of poverty. Specifically, policymakers should:

1. Count the Cost of Welfare Programs
Few Americans or policymakers realize the total amount of taxpayer spending that goes towards more than 70 welfare programs. By requiring the President’s annual budget to disclose the aggregate proposed welfare spending, both taxpayers and members of Congress can move forward in funding what works and eliminating harmful disincentives to independence.
Control Spending
Instead of the
continual increase in welfare spending - spurred by recessions but never halted by economic booms - policymakers should constrain the welfare budget across all programs. When unemployment reaches 6.5 percent, signaling the end of the recession, federal welfare funding should be capped at 2007 levels of spending, plus inflation. Heritage research has demonstrated that a similar cap on welfare spending could save American taxpayers more than $1 trillion by 2018
3. Encourage Work
Reform of welfare programs should require all able-bodied recipients of assistance to work, enroll in job training, or participate in community service. Rewarding personal responsibility is one of the most effective ways to help low-income individuals achieve long-term self-sufficiency.

Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH), Chairman of the Republican Study Committee, along with Representatives Tim Scott (R-SC), Scott Garrett (R-NJ), Dan Burton (R-IN), and Louis Gohmert (R-TX) introduced the Welfare Reform Act of 2011 today, which incorporates many of the elements of the 1996 welfare reform and addresses many of these common-sense solutions. The bill requires an aggregate spending disclosure, caps total welfare funding, and places work requirements on the food stamp program.

Lifting more people out of poverty through welfare policy is possible. By recognizing the successful elements of reform enshrined in the 1996 TANF legislation and promoting the principles of personal responsibility and accountable spending, policymakers can ensure that taxpayers finally begin to see the fruit of their investment, and more impoverished people can achieve long-term independence.

Read more about the new Welfare Reform Act and how Congress can control runaway spending and empower families to get out of poverty.



Fellowship Housing Helps Homeless Families by Healing Broken Spirits

Reforming means-tested welfare to encourage work and self-sufficiency is only the beginning of alleviating social breakdown and addressing the root causes of poverty. Beyond policy reform, it takes relational outreach to help those in need overcome barriers and truly thrive. Recognizing both the physical and relational needs of low-income, single mothers, Chicago’s Fellowship Housing seeks to provide a stable transition from homelessness to sustained self-sufficiency.

Fellowship Housing offers reduced-price housing to homeless or at-risk single-mother families, helping them budget money and time to find long-term employment and save enough to one day own their own homes. Through financial counseling and job training, Fellowship Housing helps 30 women every year set practical goals and achieve stable lives for themselves and their children. More than 90 percent of the program’s participants graduate from the two-year program, having reduced their debt by an average of $8,700 and saving an average of $2,400 to put towards a home of their own.

Meeting the housing and educational needs of women is only part of what Fellowship Housing offers. With parenting classes, emotional counseling, and life skills courses, Fellowship Housing is committed to providing holistic services that show women their own worth and dignity. As Vanessa, a single mother of two and graduate of the program, explained, “They have hugged me when I needed to be hugged, dried my tears when I cried, lent an ear when I needed to talk, and have given me constructive criticism when I've been hard-headed. I have gone from being broken in mind and in spirit to being stronger emotionally and spiritually.”

RELATED: Pine: Hawaii hands out the most welfare dollars, food, and benefits in Nation


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