Magazine article Policy & Practice

Work over Welfare: The Inside Story of the 1996 Welfare Reform Law

Magazine article Policy & Practice

Work over Welfare: The Inside Story of the 1996 Welfare Reform Law

Article excerpt

Work Over Welfare: The Inside Story of the 1996 Welfare Reform Law By Ron Haskins, Hardcover /450 pages Brookings Institution Press First edition. 2006/ISBN: 0-8157-3508-3 List Price $21.50

Ten years ago, President Clinton, backed by a bipartisan Congress, signed historic legislation designed to end "welfare as we know it." In his new book, "Work Over Welfare: The Inside Story of the 1996 Welfare Reform Law," Ron Haskins provides insight into the history of the political battles and policy debates that produced a dramatic overhaul of the American welfare system.

A senior fellow at The Brookings Institution and co-director of Brookings' Center on Children and Families, Haskins was a key staffer on the House Ways and Means Committee at the time of the bill's passage and played a large role in its creation.

The book contains new revelations about the entitlement welfare debate in Congress, the inclusion of welfare reform in the GOP's "Contract With America" and the three versions of the legislation that passed Congress-two vetoed and one eventually signed by Clinton in August 1996. Haskins tells the inside story of how this revolution in American social policy fundamentally changed the nature of government assistance to poor families in the country.

The most important change brought about by the 1996 law was the replacement of the Aid to Families With Dependent Children (AFDC) program with the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. After three decades of public frustration with public welfare policy, Congress proposed ending the entitlement to cash, imposing a five-year time limit on benefits, requiring mothers to prepare for and search for work or have their cash benefit reduced or terminated, and requiring states to place half of their welfare caseload in programs that lead to employment.

A decade after the 1996 reforms were passed, welfare rolls have plummeted by nearly 60 percent, the first sustained decline since the program was enacted in 1935. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.