[Congressional Record Volume 142, Number 34 (Wednesday, March 13, 1996)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E337]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                       HON. GEORGE P. RADANOVICH

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                        Tuesday, March 12, 1996

  Mr. RADANOVICH. Mr. Speaker, President Clinton has talked a good game 
on welfare reform, particularly when the cameras were focused on him 
during the State of the Union Address. But his two vetoes of welfare 
reform legislation speak much louder than his crowd-pleasing rhetoric. 
As we, in Congress, continue to pursue an overhaul of the current 
system, the California legislature has moved ahead with its own welfare 
reform legislation, designed to restore work incentives and help people 
on welfare become independent and productive citizens.
  The speaker of the assembly, Curt Pringle, has been a leader in 
California's welfare reform effort. In the March 4, Los Angeles Times, 
Speaker Pringle correctly pointed out that President Clinton, far from 
being a leader in welfare reform, is actually its major impediment. 
California and the other States cannot reform their welfare programs 
without Federal approval. If President Clinton had approved the 
legislation sent to him by the 104th Congress, California would not 
have to go through an extremely difficult and time-consuming Federal 
waiver process in order to implement its own reforms. California could 
be moving forward with its reforms right now.
  Given the continued urgency of this issue, I would like to request 
that Speaker Pringle's excellent commentary be entered into the Record 
at this point.

              [From the Los Angeles Times, March 4, 1996]

            Clinton Isn't Doing California's Poor Any Favors

                           (By Curt Pringle)

       President Clinton said, ``I believe we should ship 
     decision-making responsibility and resources from 
     bureaucracies in Washington to communities, to states and, 
     where we can, directly to individuals.'' When he makes 
     statements like that about welfare reform, does he seriously 
     expect us to believe him any more?
       Since his campaign pledge in 1992 to end welfare, the 
     president has blocked every serious reform effort presented. 
     Last year he vetoed important congressional block grant 
     legislation, for which he had earlier indicated support, 
     which would have given state and local governments more 
     flexibility and control over reform efforts. And last week 
     before a Senate panel, Health and Human Services Secretary 
     Donna Shalala announced that the president will reject the 
     National Governors Assn.'s bipartisan plan to salvage welfare 
     reform this year.
       The president's words of reform offer up hope, but his 
     actions betray us at our most desperate hour.
       California, like so many states, is hurting. Our social 
     fabric is being ripped apart by federal welfare programs that 
     discourage work, deprive citizens of self-respect and 
     dignity, create long-term intergenerational dependency and 
     compromise the well-being of our children. After $5.4 
     trillion spent over the last 30 years for social welfare, we 
     now realize that the federal government's failed ``war on 
     poverty'' has actually been a war on the values of its own 
       We must replace the welfare system in California 
     immediately, before we lose another generation of poor 
     children. Unfortunately, the Clinton administration is 
     standing in our way.
       In July 1994, California passed common-sense ``family cap'' 
     welfare reform legislation to end the perverse practice of 
     increasing payments to welfare recipients who have additional 
     children. This practice usurps the role of husbands and 
     drives men away from their families. But officials at the 
     federal Department of Health and Human Services have denied 
     the necessary federal waiver that would allow California to 
     implement its law.
       Our citizens are being held hostage by the federal welfare 
     system, and there is nothing we can do about it.
       How can we possibly move Californians into the work force 
     when federal welfare programs pay them the equivalent of 
     $11.59 an hour not to work? That's 270% more than they can 
     earn with a full-time, minimum-wage job. And how can we 
     discourage teenage girls from getting pregnant and dropping 
     out of school when Washington tells them that for as long as 
     they don't work, don't get married and don't live at home, 
     the government will provide them with free money, free food 
     and a free apartment?
       We must take matters into our own hands. California will 
     soon pass the most sweeping welfare reform legislation in the 
     nation's history. The plan will replace the current welfare 
     system with temporary assistance that focuses on reuniting 
     broken families and moving the abled-bodied back into jobs.
       The plan also removes disincentives to marriage, work and 
     self-responsibility by establishing flat grants, no higher 
     than minimum wage, that do not increase according to family 
     size. After all, it is unfair to tax low-income working 
     mothers whose wages are not based on family size and use the 
     money to subsidize welfare recipients who choose to have more 
     children. Fairness and self-reliance will be the cornerstones 
     of California's new welfare system.
       But without federal approval, these reforms cannot be 
       The president says that states must be given more 
     flexibility to do the things they want to without seeking 
     waivers. But by blocking reform efforts in Washington, the 
     president has proved again that he cannot be trusted.
       California must be allowed to implement its welfare reform 
     measures without seeking waivers.
       We will fight destructive federal welfare programs all the 
     way to the Supreme Court if necessary, until out citizens and 
     families can once again set their own course for opportunity.