Represenative Jim Jordan (OH-4), a cheap labor conservative and chair of the stealth Republican Study Committee, introduced “H.R. 1167, the Welfare Reform Act of 2011” to do to food stamp recipients what the GOP did to people on welfare back in the 1990’s – kick them to the curb if they don’t go to work. Too bad the program already has such a requirement. I can only think that Jordan and the rest of his Star Chamber want to have children go hungry and make family poverty worse.
“This hearing confirmed what many of us already know, that spending more federal money and creating more federal welfare programs has done little to address poverty in America,” said Chairman Jordan. “With billions of dollars in duplication, overlap and inefficiency in the federal welfare system, taxpayers are right to demand that we act swiftly to better protect their money.”
Though federal welfare spending has almost doubled in the past fifteen years, poverty rates are higher today than they were in the 1970s. According to testimony from hearing witness Robert Rector, American taxpayers will spend $940 billion means-tested federal welfare programs this year at the state and federal levels, more than will be spent on the entire national defense budget.
You know what also doesn’t address poverty or protect the tax payers, keeping the Bush Tax Cuts and letting the bankers that screwed the economy get away with billions of dollars. Also not sure where he pulled the figure $940 billion since according to the Federal Budget breakdown Defense was $689 billion which was more than the non-Social Security/Medicare spending for 2010.
According to Jordan’s bill:
1. Require disclosure of total means-tested welfare expenditures (for the 77 existing programs) in the President’s budget submission.
2. Place an aggregate spending cap on these means-tested welfare expenditures limited to the level of 2007 plus inflation growth (effective when unemployment falls below 6.5%).
3. Provide enforcement of this spending cap through the budget resolution.
4. Extend work requirements to the Food Stamp program.
5. Incentivize states to alleviate poverty through self-sufficiency, not dependence on government, by reallocating $300 million of current welfare spending toward a new program of grants to states that successfully reduce poverty and increase self-sufficiency.
6. Prevent federal funding of abortion through these programs.
So Jordan and the study group want to roll back spending on welfare to the time before the bankers screwed us over – basically screwing the people hurt by the economic meltdown again. And also attack women by adding another abortion funding prohibition – even though welfare can’t pay for abortions now.
Basically Jordan and the others think doing 1990’s welfare reform again will magically create millions of jobs like it did in the 90’s.
Food Stamp Work Requirements: The legislation establishes work requirements for Food Stamps modeled on the success of the 1996 welfare reform law. States would be required to place 4% of the monthly caseload in a work activation program in 2012, and then 7% in 2013 and thereafter. In general, able-bodied individuals (from ages 19 to 62) would have to meet work requirements established by the legislation, including:
Supervised job search;
Community service work;
Education and job training;
Drug or alcohol treatment.
Individuals would have to meet 60 hours per month of the above-listed activities (families with dependent children 120 hours per month). The legislation would also reduce TANF spending by $1 billion a year, and repeal a provision from the “stimulus” increasing Food Stamp benefits. This money would pay for the cost of state administration of work requirements (authorized at $2.5 billion a year).
Work requirements for able body people already exist and have existed since the reform of 1996.
Although the Food Stamp Program was reauthorized in the 1996 Farm Bill, major changes to the program were enacted through PRWORA. Among them were:
eliminating eligibility of most legal immigrants to food stamps;
placing a time limit on food stamp receipt of three out of 36 months for Able-bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs) who are not working at least 20 hours a week or participating in a work program;
reduction in maximum allotments by setting them at 100 percent of the change in the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP) from 103 percent of the change in the TFP;
freezing the standard deduction, the vehicle limit, and the minimum benefit;
setting the shelter cap at graduated specified levels up to $300 by fiscal year 2001, and permitting States to make use of the standard utility allowance mandatory;
revising provisions for disqualification, including comparable disqualification with other means-tested programs; and
requiring States to implement EBT before October 1, 2002.
As a result of the Act and the booming economy of the late 1990s, participation in the food stamp program plummeted.
The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (BBA) and the Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Act of 1998 (AREERA) made some changes to these provisions, most significantly:
additional Employment and Training (E&T) funds targeted toward providing work program opportunities for ABAWDs;
allowing States to exempt up to 15 percent of the estimated number of ABAWDs who would otherwise be ineligible;
restoring eligibility for certain elderly, disabled and child immigrants who resided in the United States when PRWORA was enacted; and
cutting administrative funding for States to account for certain administrative costs that previously had been allocated to the AFDC program and now were required to be allocated to the Food Stamp Program.
H.R 1167 offers the same 60 hours a month for able-bodied adults without dependents and forces families with dependent children to “work” double that amount. I’d like see a single mother with children “work” 40 hours a week in job that won’t exist with unemployment at 9% and no help for daycare.
Also how will they pay for housing or other necessities if they are forced to pay for food out of their limited income especially with food prices going up almost 3 to 4% this year alone.
I can’t help but get sick with every new way the cheap labor conservatives find to attack children and women.