By Sarah Jaffe, Truthout June 29, 2017
"Welfare Reform" Is Pushing Women Into Unwaged Work -- It's Time to Change
Welfare reform briefly became a hot topic on the campaign trail last year when Hillary Clinton was criticized for supporting the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, signed into law with great fanfare by President Bill Clinton, who famously declared that the law would "end welfare as we know it." The law did precisely that, turning the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program into the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant, which came along with stringent requirements for the people, most of them women, who received it. Since that time, extreme poverty has spiked in the country, and the share of single mothers with no income or benefits has gone from 12 percent to 20 percent. But welfare rights activists never stopped fighting for their rights, and many are backing a bill being reintroduced by Congresswoman Gwen Moore of Wisconsin, the RISE Out of Poverty Act.
Reverend Annie Chambers (Big Momma’s House, Baltimore, MD): I am one of the eight women that started the National Welfare Rights Organization … But now, the system has changed, it's so bad for people that we have got to get back to that. That is what we are talking about now. Even training the younger people -- the younger men and women now, because a lot of men are raising their children -- to come back to the drawing board. They really need to know how to organize, how to go into the districts, how to work with district managers and social workers and fight for what they need. Even to go to the governor, the White House. I have been locked up in every state in the United States because we got out there and fought.