Rick Santorum on Welfare & Poverty

Republican Jr Senator (PA)

Promote marriage & abstinence as a way to avoid poverty

Q: Given the crisis situation among a group of historically disadvantaged Americans, do you feel the time has come to take special steps to deal with poverty afflicting one race?

SANTORUM: A study done in 2009 determined that if Americans do three things, they can avoid poverty. Three things: work, graduate from high school, and get married before you have children. Those three things result in only 2% of people ending up in poverty. The Obama administration now has a program targeting at-risk youth, that can no longer promote marriage to these young girls as a way of avoiding poverty and bad choices. They can no longer even teach abstinence education. They have to be neutral with respect to how people behave. The problem is neutrality ends in poverty, neutrality ends in choices that hurt people's lives. This administration is deliberately telling organizations that are there to help young girls make good choices, not to tell them what the good choice is. That is absolutely unconscionable.

Source: Fox News debate on MLK Day in Myrtle Beach, SC , Jan 16, 2012

Block grant Medicaid, housing, & food stamps to states

Q: Three programs that would have to be cut to make Americans feel pain, to sacrifice, if we're going to balance the budget.?

SANTORUM: Means testing for Social Security. To subsidize high-income seniors doesn't make any sense to me. Food stamps is another place. We got to block grant it, send it back to the states just like I did on welfare reform. Do the same thing Medicaid & housing programs, block grant them, send them back to the states, require work, and put a time limit. You do those three things, we will help take these programs, which are now dependency programs, which people are continually dependent upon, and you take them in to transitional programs to help people move out of poverty.

GINGRICH: The duty of the president is to find a way to manage the federal government so the primary pain is on changing the bureaucracy. On theft alone, we could save $100 billion a year in Medicaid and Medicare if the federal government were competent.

Source: Meet the Press 2012 GOP New Hampshire debate , Jan 8, 2012

Poverty is not a disability; believe in ability to work

Look at welfare reform. I remember standing next to Sens. Pat Moynihan & Ted Kennedy, who were talking about how this was going to be the end of civilization; there would be bread lines; the horrific consequences of removing federal income support from mothers with children.

And we stood up and said, no, that creating that dependency upon federal dollars is more harmful than not believing in people and their ability to work. And so we stood up and fought, and went out to the American public. Bill Clinton vetoed this bill twice. We had hard opposition, but I was able to work together and paint a vision.

We made compromises, but not on our core principles. The core principles were: this was going to end a federal program; we were going to require work; we were going to put time limits on welfare. I stuck to those principles, and we were able to compromise on some things like transportation funding and some day care funding, all in order to get a consensus that poverty is not a disability.

Source: Meet the Press 2012 GOP New Hampshire debate , Jan 8, 2012

I authored the only bill to remove an entitlement

PAUL: Sen. Santorum is for this balanced budget amendment, but voted five times to increase the national debt by trillions of dollars. So what's your excuse for that? You didn't do very much to slow it up when you had a chance.

SANTORUM: As a matter of fact, I did do a lot to slow it up when I had a chance. I was the author of the only bill that actually repealed a federal entitlement, welfare reform. I actually promoted and tried to pass Social Security reform. I worked on Medicare and Medicaid. I was one of the only guys out there--in a time when we were running surpluses--talking about the need for long- term entitlement reform. When the government runs up a tab and you don't have the money to pay, then you have to increase the debt ceiling. But every time we tried to tie it with reducing spending. In the last go round, I said, no we shouldn't increase the debt ceiling because we've gone too far. But routine debt ceiling increases have happened for 200 years.

Source: WMUR 2012 GOP New Hampshire debate , Jan 7, 2012

No compromise on core principles; compromise on all else

Q: You would not negotiate on raising taxes? Not even as a 10-to-1 ratio of spending cuts to taxes?

A: Absolutely not, because it's not the problem. This is where leadership comes in. You know, you need to stand firm on these things. But you can't stan and say you give me everything I want or I'll vote no. You have to find the principles, like I did on welfare reform. I said three things--to end the federal entitlement, which we did. We wanted to require work, which we did. And we wanted to put a time limit on welfare. We did those 3 things. We compromised on everything else. I didn't get everything I wanted, but I got the core of what I wanted and we transformed welfare. You need leaders, you need people who are good at leadership, not showmanship. You go to the American public and you lay out the facts. [On the budget crisis], we need to get the economy growing. That doesn't mean taking more money out of it, that means creating energy jobs, creating manufacturing jobs. And my plan will do that.

Source: Iowa Straw Poll 2011 GOP debate in Ames Iowa , Aug 11, 2011

Send Food Stamps & means-tested entitlements to the states

Q: You all support balancing the budget! But what entitlements would you go after?

Santorum: I am the only candidate that wrote & helped pass a bill (welfare) that actually ended a federal entitlement with Democratic votes. Leadership!

Gingrich: Block grant Medicaid and send it back to the states as Rep. Paul Ryan suggested.

Santorum: I was the first candidate to embrace the Ryan plan without exception. Send Medicaid, Food Stamps, and other means-tested entitlements to the states.

Cain: I would focus on major entitlement reform. This would focus on programs similar to Social Security.

Gingrich: Also, fraud in Medicaid and Medicare are rampant. We should stop paying the crooks.

Santorum: And of course repeal Obamacare before it does even more damage to our economy and our freedom

Source: 2011 Republican primary debate on Twitter.com , Jul 21, 2011

FactCheck: No, church attendance in Europe is above 10%

Santorum says church attendance in the single digits in Europe because of government support. Santorum often says on the campaign trail, "Look at every other country from which we came and almost every one, if not every one, are dead from a faith perspective. You go to Europe, church attendance rates in the single digits--secular society. Why? Because the government co-opted faith, because faith and the government are intertwined. [People in Europe] pay taxes--you don't tithe to your church--you pay taxes to support your church."

The Santorum campaign pointed to news articles from 2005 and a European Social Survey conducted in 2009. All detail declining church attendance, but none indicate single-digit rates continent-wide. Santorum is correct regarding England, France, & the Scandinavian countries, which have attendance rates in the single digits. But Italy has about 39% church attendance; Ireland has about 65%; Portugal 30%; Spain 20%; Germany 15%. So, single digits are actually fairly rare.

Source: FactCheck on 2011 Presidential primary by PolitiFact.com , Jul 18, 2011

Drafted & managed 1994 Contract with America Welfare Reform

Q: I'm not a libertarian Republican, I'm not a Tea Party Republican. I'm just a mainstream Republican. How can you convince me you won't be torn to one side or the other for many factions within the party?

SANTORUM: If you look at my record, I'm someone who's actually accomplished a lot on big issues. Take for example, welfare reform. I drafted the Contract with America Welfare Reform Bill. It was considered this extreme measure. But I managed that bill and we ended up winning. I didn't believe that poverty was the ultimate disability. I believed that people could work and they could succeed. And we brought people together. I got 70 votes [out of 100 in the Senate] to end a federal entitlement. I led and got bipartisan support to do it.

Q: Are you concerned at all about the influence of the Tea Party?

SANTORUM: Not at all. I think the Tea Party is a great backstop for America. It is absolutely essential that we have that backbone to the Republican Party going into this election.

Source: 2011 GOP primary debate in Manchester NH , Jun 13, 2011

Support time-limits for able-bodied welfare recipients

Bill Clinton promised in 1992 to "end welfare as we know it." But by late 1993, he had all but shelved his plan to reform welfare. Our Minority Whip Newt Gingrich asked me to get together a group of members to draft our own welfare reform bill. The bill we drafted was an integral part of the now famous Contract with America.

When we introduced our bill, the liberals savaged it, calling it cruel, heartless and mean-spirited. We had actually had the audacity to call for TIME LIMITS on welfare for the ABLE-BODIED! Not only that, but we wanted to require them to work or else lose their benefits.

So-called welfare rights groups weren't the only ones who raged against our bill. Senator Ted Kennedy opined, "There is a right way and a wrong way to reform welfare. Punishing children is the wrong way. The Senate is on the brink of committing legislative child abuse."

Despite the opposition, welfare reform passed. After two votes, it was finally signed into law by President Clinton in 1996.

Source: It Takes A Family, by Sen. Rick Santorum, p.131-134 , Apr 30, 2006

Great Society barely budged poverty but fractured families

Liberals tried for forty years to help low-income Americans through Great Society welfare programs. I have to give them credit for trying, but their experiment has failed. And the worst part of their failure is NOT that trillions of tax dollars have barely budged the poverty rate. No, the worst part of their failure is that their welfare policies fractured families and pulled apart communities, pulverizing the foundation both of individual success and the common good.

While conservatives have always recognized the difficulties facing low-income families, we also resisted government involvement. That resistance has meant, in practice, that we simply allowed the liberals to design our nation's social policies, and that has hurt the poor even more. The real solution, the conservative solution to the problems of low-income America, is to structure all our programs around the family, to work with the family rather than against it.

Source: It Takes A Family, by Sen. Rick Santorum, p. 45-46 , Apr 30, 2006

One Percent Solution: increase charitable giving to 2.5%

So what's the status of America's social capital account? Church membership in this country rose steadily from the 1930s to about 1960. Since then it has dropped about 10% from the 1960s to the 1990s. We are also less likely to have friends over to our house today than in past years. These trends hold true for our generosity, as well. As a percentage of our income, Americans' donations to charity steadily increased from after the Depression until 1960. But since then they have steadily declined. As of last year, we gave only one and one-half cent of every dollar made in America to charity, down from over two cents several decades ago. And on this score, I have joined Congressman George Radanovich in an effort he calls the One Percent Solution, to increase the charitable giving rate to 2.5 percent.
Source: It Takes A Family, by Sen. Rick Santorum, p. 61-62 , Apr 30, 2006

AmeriCorps "volunteers" do build social capital

I was pleasantly surprised to see AmeriCorps workers seeded throughout the City Year program. I say surprised, because early on I was not a supporter of AmeriCorps. When I ran for the U.S. Senate in 1994, I said it was a waste to spend precious federal dollars on "volunteers" so that they could sit around a campfire singing "Kumbaya."

I still think President Clinton was wrong to call people being paid "volunteers." But I came to realize that these energetic, mostly young people could play an important coordinating role with community and nonprofit service organizations to help build up social capital. So after being one of AmeriCorps' harshest critics, I began working to move the program in a more community-oriented direction.

AmeriCorps is by no means perfect, and I am working on ways to get more volunteers into community-based non-profits. I am also a supporter of President Bush's USA Freedom Corps.

Source: It Takes A Family, by Sen. Rick Santorum, p. 63-64 , Apr 30, 2006

Discriminatory to NOT give money to faith-based groups

In the Welfare reform Act of 1996, many liberal churches supported the concept of charitable choice, and it was about doing good works for the poor with the government still controlling the purse strings, but nevertheless, they were still supporting an idea that STRENGTHENED CHURCHES. It wasn't until 2001, that "armies of compassion" would be eligible for social service grants.

What happened between the late 1990s and 2001? America had elected a president who was actually going to IMPLEMENT the 1996, 1998, and 2000 charitable choice laws.

Liberal senators have now effectively blocked any expansion of charitable choice, claiming that it promotes discrimination. I argue that not giving money to faith-based organizations to perform social services, services that serve the common good, is the real discrimination.

Source: It Takes A Family, by Sen. Rick Santorum, p.104-105 , Apr 30, 2006

Promotes Individual Development Accounts set up by churches

Sen. Lieberman and I have been promoting Individual Development Accounts. IDAs act like a 401(k) program for low-income individuals. These programs are set up, many by faith-based organizations, with a mix of federal, state, and private dollars. These organizations help their low-income clients set up accounts at their local banks, provide training on how to manage these accounts, and then match individual contributions dollar-for-dollar up to $500 a year. These accounts earn tax-free interest and can be used to pay for education, to buy a home, or to start a business. In other words, these accounts launch low-income people into the asset accumulation game.

Our legislation will create approximately $2 billion in tax credits for financial institution and private investors that create IDAs. We have tried for years to create a federal IDA tax credit as part of a broader initiative called the Charity Aid Recovery Empowerment (CARE) Act, which would help charitable organizations help the poor.

Source: It Takes A Family, by Sen. Rick Santorum, p.151-152 , Apr 30, 2006

Black entrepreneurship vanished with liberal welfare policy

it is wrong to believe the African-American story is one of victimhood only. To think in those terms is to deny the real accomplishments of the black community in our history. And not the least of these accomplishments has been a tradition of business acumen and entrepreneurship.

Why did it seemingly vanish? It's hard to place the blame on ongoing racism, since racism was at least as much of a problem during the heyday of black enterprise in the early decades of the twentieth century as it is today. No, what really changed the economic terrain for African-Americans was something else: the arrival of liberal welfare policies, the liberal cultural of victimhood, and poorly thought-out liberal urban renewal.

Source: It Takes A Family, by Sen. Rick Santorum, p.189-190 , Apr 30, 2006

You don't help people by making them dependent on you

You do not help people by taking care of them, by making them dependent on you, by providing for them instead of giving them the opportunity to provide for themselves. That is not truly taking care of. That is not truly helping people. So when you look at these proposals, look at it not as to how much are we doing for somebody, but how much are we helping them help themselves. How much opportunity are we creating; not how much are we taking care of. That is really the test here, because we know from our history that taking care of people destroys them, destroys communities, destroys families, destroys country. That is what is brewing in our communities that are heavily laden with welfare populations today. That destructive element of Government dependency is taking control and is not creating better communities, families, individuals, and neighborhoods.
Source: Santorum speech in "A Senator Speaks Out", p. 28 , Mar 28, 2005

Voted YES 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 NO 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.
Reference: Bill S 1956 ; vote number 1996-218 on Jul 23, 1996

Voted YES on allowing state welfare waivers.

Vote on a procedural motion to allow consideration of an amendment to express the Sense of Congress that the president should approve the waivers requested by states that want to implement welfare reform.
Reference: Bill S.1956 ; vote number 1996-208 on Jul 19, 1996

Voted YES 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

Tax credits to promote home ownership in distressed areas.

Santorum co-sponsored the Community Development Homeownership Tax Credit Act

Amends the Internal Revenue Code to permit a community homeownership tax credit based upon an applicable percentage of each qualified residence's eligible basis. Makes such credit available to residences (including factory built homes) located:

  1. in a census tract with a median gross income not exceeding 80 percent of the greater area or statewide median gross income;
  2. in a rural area;
  3. on an Indian reservation; or
  4. in an area of chronic economic distress.
Prohibits a buyer's income from exceeding 80 percent (70 percent for families of less than three) of the area gross median income and requires owner occupancy.
Source: Bill sponsored by 45 Senators 03-S875 on Apr 10, 2003

Increase the earned income tax credit.

Santorum co-sponsored increasing the earned income tax credit

Provisions Relating to Earned Income Credit: Amends the Internal Revenue Code to repeal the supplemental young child credit and revise and increase the earned income credit.

Source: Tax Simplification Act (H.R.13) 1993-H13 on Jan 5, 1993

Other candidates on Welfare & Poverty: Rick Santorum on other issues:
Pres.Barack Obama
V.P.Joe Biden
GOP Candidates:
Rep.Michele Bachmann(MN)
Herman Cain(GA)
Rep.Newt Gingrich(GA)
Gov.Jon Huntsman(UT)
Gov.Gary Johnson(NM)
Rep.Thaddeus McCotter(MI)
Rep.Ron Paul(TX)
Gov.Rick Perry(TX)
Gov.Buddy Roemer(LA)
Gov.Mitt Romney(MA)
Sen.Rick Santorum(PA)
GOP Withdrawals:
Gov.Haley Barbour(MS)
Gov.Chris Cristie(NJ)
Mayor Rudy Giuliani(NYC)
Gov.Mike Huckabee(AR)
Gov.Bobby Jindal(LA)
Gov.Sarah Palin(AK)
Gov.Tim Pawlenty(MN)
Donald Trump(NY)
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Page last updated: Mar 07, 2012