John Kasich Teamed With Clintons on 1990s Law That Helped Double Extreme Poverty
As House Budget Committee chairman in the 1990s, Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who has claimed to be a friend of the working poor and a foe of Hillary Clinton, worked with the Clintons to throw Americans off welfare — a bipartisan project that helped double the rate of extreme poverty in the United States.
Zaid Jilani reports at The Intercept:
In 1996, the Clinton administration and congressional Republicans worked hand in hand to pass what they called the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, colloquially known as “welfare reform.”
The legislation famously “ended welfare as we know it,” replacing Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The newly-created TANF placed a time limit on how long the federal government would extend financial assistance to poor families.
Kasich was one of the legislation’s prime movers. After clashes between Clinton and the Republicans over earlier versions of the bill, Kasich introduced what went on to become the final legislation in June 1996. By late July, the administration and the Republicans had solved their disagreements, and a conference bill coasted to passage by a 328-101 vote (Bernie Sanders, another presidential contender, opposed it).
The emblem for Bill Clinton’s welfare reform — which Hillary vigorously supported at the time — was a black mother named Lillie Harden who had gotten herself off welfare after two years by landing a job. Bill said of her, “I want to make more people like that woman, Lillie Harden. So I’ve got a plan to do it. And it’s just the beginning.”
Six years after passage of the welfare reform law, Harden had a stroke, journalist Jason DeParle discovered. “She was unable to get on Medicaid because she was no longer on welfare, and she couldn’t afford her $450 monthly bill for prescription drugs,” Jilani writes.
“It didn’t pay off in the end,” Harden said of her work to get off welfare. She died in March 2014 at 59.
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—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.