Jun 27 2002
WASHINGTON, DC - The Senate Finance Committee approved a welfare reform bill that includes a number of provisions of the "Work and Family Act" that Senator Tom Carper authored with Senator Evan Bayh. Senators Bayh and Carper took a lead role in the welfare reauthorization debate, setting out their standards in early February that welfare reform must strengthen families, equip people with the tools to achieve self-sufficiency and give states the resources and flexibility to meet strict work requirements. Carper applauded the committee for its work, and looks forward to the bill being debated before the full Senate. "The goal must not be to simply move people off of welfare but to move them into work and help them achieve real independence. Responsible welfare reform must demand work but also expand assistance for childcare, reduce teen pregnancy and offer a real opportunity for success," Carper said. "The committee reported out a bill that meets most of these goals." Areas where the Senate Finance Committee bill mirrors the Bayh-Carper-Graham act include:
- Replaces the caseload reduction credit with credits for employment and higher wage jobs; Expanding vocational education and training to up to 24 months when related to employment or job skills;
- Funding transitional jobs to help people receive adequate training and work experience; Increasing funding to help low?income families find quality child care;
- Seeking to dramatically reduce teen pregnancy over the next ten years and provides funding for abstinence first programs;
- Demanding responsibility from non custodial parents including child support enforcement tools such as authorizing the denial, revocation or restriction of passports to individuals if their child support arrearage exceed $2,500Enacting a child support "pass through" so that fathers payments go directly to their families instead of a government agency.
- Increasing the work participation rate to 70% by 2007.