Centrist Senators Unveil welfare Reform Proposal, Bayh/Carper Bill Builds on ’96 Successes to Demand Work and Strengthen Families

WASHINGTON, DC – President Bush’s welfare reform proposal should provide greater flexibility and funding to get people off of welfare rolls and onto the payroll, Senator Tom Carper said today. Carper spoke this afternoon at a welfare reform roundtable in front of HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson and other past and present governors. Carper was the lead governor on welfare reform during its overhaul in 1996. He and Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) will unveil their own bill at a press conference tomorrow. “To reach our shared goal of getting people off of welfare and into the workforce, Congress must give states more resources and greater flexibility to use them. But we must also demand greater results,” Carper said. “President Bush is right to continue welfare reform’s “work first” approach and to raise work requirements. But his bill is only half a solution because it raises the bar without giving states or families the tools to reach it. Our ultimate goal must be to help those on welfare achieve independence, not set states up for failure. We need to set the bar high, but help states achieve.” As governor, Carper instituted a successful welfare reform policy, reducing teen pregnancy and cutting Delaware’s welfare rolls by over 50%. Bayh-Carper seeks to strengthen families, reduce poverty, empower parents with the training and tools they need to provide for their children and discourage teen pregnancy. The bill calls for an increase in the worker participation rate over the next five years and a dramatic reduction in teen pregnancy over the next decade. It also provides greater resources for childcare and job training.