What might change if Republicans retake the House and Senate in 2022? Dr. Merrill Matthews suggests that one change might be welfare reform. Back in the 1990s, a Republican Congress passed, and President Bill Clinton signed, a welfare reform package. But some aspects (like the work requirement) have been removed by later administrations. He believes that Senator Rick Scott’s “Let’s Get Back to Work Act” could pass next year.
Decades ago, one of the Republican leaders on welfare reform was former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson. Heritage Foundation’s expert on welfare is Robert Rector. He explained that: “Thompson initiated a series of reforms that cut welfare dependency during the late 1980s” and then added other work-related reforms in the 1990s. This ultimately cut the welfare caseload in half.
Merrill Mathews talks about a program in Oregon that not only had a work requirement but also included a program that provided welfare recipients with assistance in finding a job. If the employer and the beneficiary were satisfied after a period, the employee was given a full-time job and dropped from welfare benefits.
It’s worth mentioning the past success of welfare reform because the younger generation will be susceptible to the same warnings and complaints critics used last time. We know how effective welfare reform can be. But passing similar legislation will still face an uphill battle in Congress.
Senator Scott points out, “A job creates income, independence, and security — it’s the foundation of the American Dream.” He adds that “The American people want to work. People want to support themselves and their families, and be independent, not reliant on government programs.”
Welfare reform is one of several changes that might be implemented if we see a change in the control of Congress this fall.