The Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday dismissed Administration objections and approved a five-year, $2.8-billion welfare plan designed to help poor parents take responsibility for their own lives and their children.
The Family Security Act, sponsored by Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.), was approved 17 to 3. Moynihan said it was the first time the panel had supported a comprehensive welfare reform bill in 50 years.
Moynihan and others have tried to change the main welfare program, Aid to Families With Dependent Children, or AFDC, for several years. The drive gathered momentum last year with bipartisan consensus on the need to require education, job training or work for people who receive government assistance.
Collecting Child Support
Moynihan’s bill and a broad, more expensive House proposal passed last year both would require states to take stronger steps to establish paternity and collect child support from absent parents. The provisions include automatic wage-withholding from paychecks in some cases.
States also would have to set up education, training and job programs for welfare recipients and spend half of their money on those considered most difficult to help, such as teen-age mothers. Child care, transportation and Medicaid assistance would be provided.
And states would have to allow cash benefits for two-parent families in which the principal wage-earner is unemployed; only 26 do so now. The bill says the assistance would have to be available for only six months of each year.
Officials Urge Veto
Four Cabinet secretaries told the committee by letter that they would urge President Reagan to veto the Moynihan bill.
Sen. William L. Armstrong (R-Colo.), echoing the Administration’s objections, said the bill would increase rather than decrease welfare dependency. He said the two-parent welfare provision would add 130,000 families to the rolls.
Preliminary projections from the Congressional Budget Office put the cost of the Moynihan bill at $2.8 billion over five years, contrasted with $7.1 billion for the House bill and $913 million for a less-extensive Administration plan.