Poor Women Need Real Welfare Reform, Not Political Rhetoric
NOW Challenges Senators to Stop the Vicious Cycle of Poverty
June 17, 2002
Kim Gandy, President of the National Organization for Women, protested with Washington-area activists outside the Dirksen Senate Office Building on June 17, challenging members of the Senate Finance Committee to enact welfare reform with the best interests of poor women and their families in mind when the Senate's welfare bill goes in for a markup, as soon as Tuesday, June 18.
"While welfare "reform" has moved people off the rolls, it has failed miserably at moving people out of poverty and into self-sufficiency," Gandy said. "It's high time the Senate catches on and passes the most family-friendly welfare bill this country has ever seen.
"This week, the Senate has the chance to pass a welfare reauthorization bill that will actually reduce poverty, rather than simply kick poor women and children off the rolls to prove superficial short-term success."
"A 2000 report from the Kellogg Foundation showed that nine out of 10 people in the U.S. think that families moving from welfare to work should have access to education and/or training for jobs that would allow them to be self-sufficient. Yet, less than one percent of Federal TANF funds were spent on education and training in 2000."
"I challenge the Senate Finance Committee to enact legislation that truly helps women and their families become self-sufficient by providing the education, fair job opportunities and programs that support work, including child care and transportation, that are essential for lifting poor women and their families out of poverty."
"After all, rhetoric about encouraging self-sufficiency for poor families is empty unless poor families can have access to an education that will guarantee equal opportunities. TANF recipients are currently required to spend 30 hours per week in work or work activities. It's critical that time spent getting an education be counted toward TANF's mandatory work hours."
"It's time to end the welfare debate once and for all. The only way to end the vicious cycle of poverty and welfare reform debate is to enact fair legislation that will yield real results. Educational opportunities and work supports, like child care and transportation, are key to real reform. This isn't rocket science, it's common sense."
###For Immediate Release
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