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Welfare Reform

Welfare reform is heating up on Capitol Bill. A number of proposals have been introduced in Congress and key votes will be taking place in the House possibly as early as mid-May, The League has always been a key player in the welfare debate, and we [urge] you to continue this role in the 100th Congress by letting your members of Congress hear from you NOW on the issue of welfare reform.

In the past few years, the number of poor people in America has increased dramatically. Recessions, unemployment, and budget cuts in social pro-grams have all combined to force more and more Americans into the ranks of the impoverished. Nearly one in five children are poor. Households headed by women are about three times as likely as all families to be poor. Thirty-three million Americans still live in poverty.

Against this background, the 100th Congress is debating how to reform the welfare system. Increasingly, the debate is shaping up as one a-bout how to get people off welfare and into the workforce. A wide variety of means -- from punitive measures to improved education and training programs -- are being suggested. There is a danger that the welfare-to-work philosophy will totally eclipse the larger issues of poverty and meeting the basic needs of Americans

The League has long held that work should be encouraged, but that it should not be a condition of receiving assistance. We support voluntary participation in employment training, education and counseling. Finally, we believe that support services -- including child care, health care and transportation -- should be available for welfare recipients who are participating in education and training programs or attempting to make the transition to work.

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