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Bill Bradley on Welfare & Poverty


Reducing teen pregnancy will reduce poverty

If you’re the child of an unmarried teen mother who doesn’t graduate from high school, you have a 79% chance of ending up in poverty. Reducing teen pregnancy implies a reduction in poverty. That begins with young men realizing that having a child is a lifetime commitment. It also means helping support the children by creating homes where young women who don’t have caring adults in their lives can live in a nurturing adult environment during their pregnancy and the first year of their child’s life.
Source: The Journey From Here, by Bill Bradley, p.118 Aug 15, 2000

1M kids lost health insurance:’96 welfare reform didn’t work

GORE [to Bradley]: We have moved seven million people from welfare to work, cutting the rolls in half. You voted against it in the US Senate. And I’m wondering why.

BRADLEY: I voted against it because I didn’t think it was in the best interest of the country. And I’m wondering why you think it’s working so well when there are one million children today who’ve lost their health insurance because of welfare reform. Although the welfare rolls have dropped, [the number of] people in deep poverty have increased. [The 1996 Senate vote] was a gamble with kids for reelection. I was not willing to take that gamble. The next 4 years [required] attempts to correct a bad bill. Legal immigrants were kicked off of the welfare rolls; the strict limits of two years and five years was an onerous burden. [Those provisions] have been changed now. Governors now have flexibility. So the bill I voted against is not the bill now. But I think we need to reform welfare reform. No question about that.

Source: (X-ref from Gore) Democrat Debate in Manchester NH Jan 26, 2000

Opposed 1996 Welfare Reform; now “wait & see” how it’s used

The sweeping welfare overhaul law [was] passed by Congress in 1996. Bradley vehemently opposed the legislation, calling it “a poor person’s nightmare.” [Now] Bradley has muted criticism of the law and discusses it only when asked. Nor has Bradley proposed significant changes in the law, although he does call for a $10 billion plan to eliminate child poverty in America.

Instead, he offers a more wait-&-see approach. Acknowledging that states have been given “essentially total flexibility,” Bradley said there was no certainty that governors would adhere to the law’s work requirements and time limits, which allow a recipient a maximum of 2 years of federal aid without working & 5 years of aid over a lifetime. “I’ll watch very carefully how it’s implemented. what governors do or do not do.” He argues that welfare reform has yet to be vindicated. He says that an economic boom has covered up the measure’s flaws and notes that while overall poverty is down, deep poverty is rising slightly.

Source: Boston Globe, p.A19 Jan 23, 2000

Welfare is down, but deep poverty is up

The answer to the problems of children in poverty [is not] to take a pot of money from national politicians and send it to state politicians. [The results of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act] is, yeah, welfare is down, but deep poverty is up. Yes, welfare is down, but more children don’t have health insurance. More people off welfare , that says good, but we haven’t hit a recession and we haven’t understood the interaction of different programs. So I think the jury is still out on welfare reform.
Source: Remarks in Nashua NH Jan 13, 2000

Bad ideas: block grants; 5-year cutoff.

The answer to the problems of poor children is not to take a pot of money from the federal level and send it to state politicians and say, “Spend 80% of this on poor people as you define poverty.” I don’t think that that’s the answer. It’s not wise to have a program that severs the bond between the mother and the child in the first three years of life. The full measure of whether this program has succeeded or not will be at the end of five years when people will be cut off unceremoniously.
Source: NBC’s “Meet the Press” Aug 1, 1999

Good ideas: federal commitment, address single-parenting

I voted against the most recent welfare reform bill. Now, welfare needed to be reformed, but I thought the best way to do it was to build on the act that we passed in 1988: And that was to still have federal commitment, but state experimentation in how to deal with the root problem, which is too many children being born in families with a single parent.
Source: NBC’s “Meet the Press” Aug 1, 1999

Welfare should not require mothers to work.

Mr. Bradley opposed the Administration’s welfare reform measure. He feared that it would force mothers to abandon their children for jobs.
Source: New York Times, 4/20/99, p. A18, col. 1 Apr 20, 1999

Cut poverty to help cities; not welfare or aff. action

Nowhere is the issue of race more urgent or less candidly faced than in urban America. Race and the American city are inextricably bound together in fact and in the public perception. The people who live in America’s cities are poorer, sicker, and less educated. The jobs have disappeared. The neighborhoods have been gutted. The tax base has withered. A genuine depression has hit cities. Rather than devising ways to cut poverty, too many politicians talk only about affirmative action or welfare.
Source: Time Present, Time Past, p. 374 Jan 8, 1997

Against welfare block grants to states

Block grants create a new problem because States that have increasing numbers of poor families would not have enough funds to assist their people. Federal politicians should not simply transfer pots of money to State politicians without any standards about what the money would be used for. We do not need to transfer money from one bureaucrat to another; we need a commitment to individual poor children.
Source: Senate Floor Statement, Washington, DC Sep 21, 1995

Enlist civil institutions & churches for welfare reform

Source: Senate Floor Statement, Washington, DC Sep 21, 1995

Voted NO on welfare block grants.

Replacement of federal welfare guarantee with block grants to the states.
Status: Conf Rpt Agreed to Y)78; N)21; NV)1
Reference: Conference Report on H.R. 3734; Bill H.R. 3734 ; vote number 1996-262 on Aug 1, 1996

Voted YES on eliminating block grants for food stamps.

Vote to not allow states the option of getting food stamp funds as a block grant administered by the state, rather than as a federal program, if they meet certain criteria.
Bill S 1956 ; vote number 1996-218 on Jul 23, 1996

Voted NO on welfare overhaul.

Approval of an overhaul on the federal welfare system.
Status: Bill Passed Y)87; N)12; NV)1
Reference: Contract w/ America (Welfare Refm); Bill H.R. 4 ; vote number 1995-443 on Sep 19, 1995

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