WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) joined Guy Benson and Marie Harf on Fox News Radio’s “Benson & Harf” to discuss the important welfare reform legislation that the Ways and Means Committee will be marking up later today: the JOBS for Success Act.
On the need to revisit and revamp the welfare reform promise of the 1990s:
“We have I think kind of an exciting opportunity here. We have a booming economy after tax reform, and one of the most competitive tax codes in the world. And businesses of all sizes are looking for workers of all kinds. But we’ve got a problem, there’s a jobs gap.
“We have more than six million job openings, and we have more than that: Americans really trapped on the sidelines. It’s been 22 years since the successful bipartisan welfare reform in 1996. We think it’s time to look anew at restoring the promise of that welfare reform and make the changes now that can help get millions of Americans who are really trapped on the sidelines in welfare – help them move… to the front lines of employment.
“The truth is, we need them. Our local businesses need them and… their children need them – to see them go to work each day and really start a new life.”
On how the JOBS for Success Act sets a new standard for success:
“Under today’s welfare, states… are required to engage half of those who are trapped on the sidelines in welfare to try to get them to work. But in truth, over the years that really has kind of disintegrated. So, some states have very little engagement.
“We have a new standard, 100 percent… everyone matters and states are going to have to engage everyone who is work eligible with a game plan. An agreement that they sign and that the states or their contractor signs that [says] ‘this is the plan to help… move you back to the workforce.’ That’s one big change. The second one, is that we want real jobs.
“The current welfare reform says look if you get someone into a temporary job, mission accomplished, check the box, great. But then they slide back into welfare. We have a new standard to measure, which is get and keep that job. It’s proven, when people get a job and keep that, they begin to work themselves into a new career path and stay out of welfare for the long-term and their incomes go up more.”
On Democrat support to help get Americans off of the sidelines and into the workforce:
“Everyone from Joe Biden to Ted Kennedy to both the Clintons, and John Kerry have said getting people from poverty and into a job, into work, improves their lives, their income, gives them new hopes, and opportunity.
“So, unless something has changed, Democrats ought to be backing these reform efforts. Because making sure no one is left behind, that everybody matters, that it’s not just to check the box – but we really care about getting you into a brighter future is exactly what we want to do.
“I think at the end of the day… 90 percent of Americans think that people who receive welfare should train for work, to even volunteer part-time as a way to move themselves out [of welfare]. This is exactly what we’re doing.”