House Republicans Plan to Take on Welfare Reform

Black lawmakers vow to fight any effort to target the poor.

Posted: 03/16/2011 06:37 PM EDT

Republican Study Committee chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) plans to introduce welfare reform legislation later this week that he says will move more people from government assistance rolls and reduce welfare spending levels. According to the RCC, state and federal welfare spending combined has nearly doubled since 1996, when President Clinton fought to “mend it, not end it,” and could top $10 trillion in the next ten years.

“Our bill will build upon the work-focused reforms of 1996 and return the federal welfare budget to pre-recession levels once the economy has significantly improved,” Jordan said.

Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-North Carolina) says the GOP is flirting with disaster because the number of poor people actually has increased in the last eight years, more acutely since the start of the recession. “To pull the safety net from poor people is creating unemployment, hunger, despair and is a terrible thing,” he said. “We will fight vehemently against it, I can tell you that.”

Rep. Lacy Clay (D-Missouri) was less genteel when he learned about Jordan’s plan. “They find these so-called easy targets where they pick on Americans with the least and figure that’s where they’re going to find cuts. I wish they would grow some balls and go after Defense,” he fumed. “We found $600 billion in DOD cuts through the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, but they won’t touch that. They’re full of [expletive deleted] and you can quote me on that.”

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