10/23/2004

Refuting a Liberal Urban Myth - Clinton was NOT Responsible for Welfare Reform

I've heard this at least 3 times from liberals in the last week and I'm tired of refuting them individually so here it goes.

Bill Clinton was NOT the initiator of Welfare Reform. True, he signed the bill, but it was not popular with Democrats (and still isn't).

The Republicans led the initiative to reform welfare with the Contract With America in which item #3 (Personal Responsibility Act) eventually became welfare reform.

Ok, I'm sure you liberals aren't convinced...so here's the original bill...submitted by Representative E. Clay Shaw, Jr (R-FL) in January of 1995. Here's the status where you can see it was Vetoed by Clinton (the 2nd time he vetoed a welfare reform measure).

In 1996, H.R. 3734 was sponsored by John R. Kasich (R-OH). Republicans voted overwhelmingly for (230-2) whereas the Democrats split (98-98). The Sentate, also controlled by Republicans passed the measure. All of the Republicans voted for the measure and again, the Democrats nearly split with 24 for and 21 against.

President Clinton signed the measure and the rest is history. Except...

Clinton declared himself a centrist Democrat throughout the 1992 campaign. In 1994, Republicans took over both the House and Senate. As 1996 was an election year and Welfare reform was popular with the public, he was cajoled into passing the measure. Clinton, a consumate politician (and I'll give him that), signed the measure much to the chagrin of many Democrats. The sharp part of what Clinton did was to co-opt a Republican idea as one of his own...especially convincing to those Democrats unwilling to really look into the issue. Fortunately, the voting history shows us otherwise.




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