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House Passes Welfare Reform Reauthorization
The House passed legislation reauthorizing the 1996 welfare reform law (PL 104-193) that eliminated the federal welfare entitlement. The bill (HR 4737) passed on May 16, 2002, on a largely party line vote of 229-197, with most Republicans supporting the bill and most Democrats opposing it. It is awaiting action in the Senate.
The House-passed bill would require states to ensure that 70 percent of welfare recipients have jobs by 2007. An estimate 58 percent of welfare recipients do not have jobs now. It would also require welfare recipients to work 40 hours per week, with at least 24 hours spent at a work site and up to 16 hours spent in training.
The bill would continue current federal spending levels on the welfare program at $16.5 billion per year and increase child care funding by $2 billion over five years. It would provide states new flexibility in implementing housing and food stamp programs. It also authorizes $300 million per year for marriage-promotion programs.