tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN September 1, 2016 1:18pm-3:19pm EDT
representative mike castle had come in with a centrist bill at the last minute, which was actually quite upsetting, so the rules committee decided that castle could prevent-- present his version and first would be voted on and if it lost he would support the ways and means bill. so, representative was very very agitated over this. he's in the back corner over there at that time in the closet pacing back and forth with his door open and he sees castle conferring with two or three other people and he says that's out of protocol. you can't be dealing like that. you got to be on the up and up and make a presentation, so ron haskins goes over there to check it out. he comes back to representative
in the closet and says don't worry about it, they are talking about some thing else. the representative says on such a suspicious person. i'm a flawed individual and then he says, he concludes by saying god has not finished with me yet i would love to work with a guy who's got that kind of humility and that doesn't happen often. we are cosponsored by the secretary's innovation group, which is a organization about which on the executive director that has members that are human service secretary from 19 states making up 46% of the country and we deal with policy issues, but also problematic issues and management issues. i have three colleagues here that i would like to have come up. the first is doug from the university of maryland who is going to welcome you here as well. that is what we had decided, but we don't need to do it, doug. [laughter]
,. [applause]. >> governor thompson, great, glad you are here. come on up. >> you were a lot nicer when you used to work for me. [laughter] >> now, okay. i'm going to go through in two minutes what happened between 1984 and 2001. in 1981, president reagan made modest changes to eligibility in his first budget bill. three years later, in 1984, charles murray published losing ground, which created a lively debate and no introduction to this group is necessary. professor larry mead who is with us today of new york university
in 1986, just two years later wrote beyond entitlement, the first book to argue for work obligation as a basis for welfare reform. then, a diverse group of important thinkers convened by aei couple one of our organization cosponsors published the new consensus on family and welfare in which a bipartisan group of which doug, one of our cosponsors with a primary author and suggested that's both sides of the left and right could coalesce around the idea of mutual obligation. again, in 1986, still again governor mary "model of-- governor mario cuomo brought together five members of the organization and concluded that society should require work in exchange for public support. then, finally in 1986, mickey,
one of our panelists are today wrote a long and influential article in the new republic that became a book in which he set it -- said public jobs at a wage slightly below minimum is really way to promote work as a condition. in 1988, harvard professor and future clinton hhs official david ellwood published for support in which he proposed a two year time limit after which work is required with some sort of job guarantee. then, in 1987, president reagan created the inter- agency low income advisory board, which was intended to be a one-stop shop for those states that wanted to pursue welfare reform waiter's. in 1980, led by senate finance member patrick moynihan the family support act was passed based on an education and training model, but unfortunately, the caseload went
up by about a third in the four years after it was implemented. then, in 1981, the results came in that seems to confirm from california, that a workforce employment first approach yields better results than education and-- and a training. in 1992, arkansas governor bill clinton ran on the promise to end welfare as we know it. the phrase, the invention of bruce reed, one of our panelists here today with a thought leadership emanating from the progressive policies through executive director will marshal who is also here today. two years later the task force on welfare had three cochairs and published work and responsibility act in the month of june, 1994. after the first two clinton years in 1994, newt gingrich decided to nationalize the election with promises made in
the contract with america one of which featured welfare reform. in the 1994 election republicans took the house and senate and increase their state houses from 19 to 30 and the contract bill, hr four was introduced in january, 1995. after that, there were several republican iterations of the belt and after having vetoed two bills, advanced to his desk of the third on the third try president clinton signed a modified bill. this is followed by the resignation of three high-level hhs officials including former deputy assistant secretary wendell primus who is with us today. in the immediate invitation of the bill of the legislation the big three indicators, which are employment, dependency and poverty as simultaneously move strongly in the right direction and a fourth, out of wedlock birth caused its increase rise,
previous rice. well, no social legislation has been as studied and as debated as the welfare reform legislation that led to 10f, which is one reason why 20 years later we are still debating it and in this room we have the people who were helped design and implement and that original coalition, which is ppi, aei's represented by it larry mead doug and also the maryland school of public policy. we have the two or most governors who were at the forefront of that push and we had the secretaries who are represented here through the secretary's innovation group. with that i'm going to jump right in. governor thompson, i have a question for you. you were elected to start serving in january, 1987. you were long serving governor
through 2001. but, in your election-- her first election you featured welfare reform is a major policy platform that may have played a large role in the feeding of income that. question is where did you get the idea that welfare reform is a major issue that would be worthy of featuring in your campaign? >> first off, thank you jason, for inviting governor john engler and myself. it's good to see my good friend john, who he and i competed against each other in michigan and wisconsin. i would come up with and i did then he would steal it and refine it and make it better and i would steal it back. we have tremendous contest going on, who could do the best job possible in welfare reform. pre-much like michigan state versus the-- wisconsin football. it was a labor of love between
both of us. you have to understand the situation that i inherited. i'm in a democratic state, a conservative republican that no one that had a chance to win whatsoever. a popular democratic governor by the name of tony girl was the governor and running for reelection and i was the only governor that year to defeat an incumbent governor of the united states. one of the big reasons was that we had a terrible problem in wisconsin. tony earl raise more money to increase welfare payments without requiring any kind of causal relationship, any response whatsoever and people from all over the midwest on the way down to mississippi were coming to wisconsin to get on welfare reform. the "new york times" was following several of those individuals and wrote stories about them and it even got so bad that in the greyhound bus depot in chicago there was a sign put up before i got elected
that said: if you want more money, all you have to do is pay $25, get a round-trip bus trip to madison or the lock your kenosha, get on welfare, cash your check and come back and live in chicago. it was a huge story of everyone in wisconsin was pretty upset about it. so, i had a debate with tony earl and he kept saying if tommy thompson gets elected governor everyone from mississippi-- everyone will leave wisconsin go to mississippi and i said well, governor earl the truth about matter is every-- everyone from mississippi is already here in wisconsin because of your welfare payments. uk was going to put me down. it was a line that got me a great deal of publicity throughout the state of wisconsin and we started welfare reform act i got elected, but it was the fact that people were misusing and taking advantage of the system that became a huge
issue in wisconsin. it was one of the reasons-- not the only reason, there are several reasons, mostly economic, but the welfare reform idea was starting to take hold in wisconsin before any place else just because other people were abusing the system and the people in wisconsin were fed up of paying higher taxes in order to attract more people from other states to come and get on the welfare roll. >> governor, you also dumped in with you elected with five illustrations. >> yes. >> one of them was learned share which became well known throughout the country. where did it come from. most of the audience knows exempted teenagers including teen parents must attend school regularly to receive their full check. where that come from? ..
>> very piesed a republican governor would invite them to the executive residence, which is a very nice place, and have lunch and talk about welfare reform. they said we have to work on keeping children in school and that was one of many ideas that came out of my luncheons will welfare mothers that gave me my best ideas for welfare reform. >> governor, you were the governor of michigan from 1991 to 2003. when you took office you
inherited a budget deficit, and early on in your administration you decided to end general assistance, which was high'll controversial. what was your thinking? >> thank you very much. to you and the innovation change for having us all here today and happy anniversary everyone. 20 years ago it was signed by president clinton, so quite an historic day. going back, like tommy, when i took office in 1990, he was the only one in-86 -- i was the only one to be an incumbent in '90. so i was copying tommy. he was from el roy, wisconsin, which is bigger than the city i was from. >> no stop and go lights. >> no traffic lights in either of our towns.
but when i came into office, two billion dollars in the hole, and we were worried that one of the problems michigan had been losing a jot of -- a lot of jobs and we didn't have much capacity to raise revenue. we said our problem isn't we're spending too little. we're not spending it well. and looking at the program, the attended of human services it was named the those days was nose the only one looked at. this was program for single, childless adults and 'rooked loin the -- looked around the country and other states did not have it. it was imbedded into the michigan program for some time, and when we eliminated it was cycle controversial but we kept pointing out we did maintain safety nets in terms of there were food stamps and health benefits but there was also the safety net called work, and it
was 20 hours a week at minimum wage, would more than reef place the general assistance -- replace the general assistance, and and philosophy we start with was aid and support should be temporary as we move people from needing assistance to more independence, and you start that by going to work. first day you work, and the first money you earns, gets you closer to the day you do become independent. that was the decision, just the beginning. one of the interesting things -- and this also became something i know jim talent and members of the majority when the house switched in '94, were the ability to create different kinds of partnerships. we were being criticized that the elimination of general assistant would lead to this dramatic rise in homelessness and what would the state do about that?
and was that clearly unacceptable risk. that led to a unique partnership and one fellow who couldn't be here today but we miss very much is dr. jerry miller. jerry is in florida, but he was very much involved -- was the director of the department, a counterpart to jayson and others, but jerry has been the budget director for michigan in the 1970s, and had been down in washington running the national associate of state budget officers. when jerry came out the department of human services was bigger than the entire state department when he left. so i said -- this is a bigger department but jerry figured out, with the leadership of the salvation army in michigan, we could enter into a contract with the salvation army to work with us on homelessness. they only had 100 plus years of experience there, and that contract was stunningly successful because
then what we would do is -- when we had these toll free numbers, if saw anybody who was homeless, call the army, and so at the tv camera going out and taking a shot of somebody on the street and saying what's going to happen to this person, and they would ask the press secretary and the governor what are you going to do about this? they said, look, did you lend a hand? you came across this person. and it really -- michigan has tough winters like wisconsin. we did not have an issue because of the fine work the salvation army did and was a mass if public-partnership and the army had to deal with that because they had not been in quite that level of interconnectedness with the government. we said you know how to do this. rather than the state trying to build shelters go to the people who have been dying. the biggest pushback were from
the people who needed help. they didn't want to go to the salvation army because you have to get up in morning, you have chores to and there's alcohol or drugs and there's a restriction on my fremont, and public support evaporated. but that got us started, jason, and then like tommy said, there was a tremendous competition in the early '90s back and forth -- >> let me ask governor thompson about something that led to that competition, if i might. governor thompson, the reagan white house had an official, chuck hobbs. >> great american. >> -- whose job it was to help states think of and submit waivers to the federal government for welfare, and he told me when he start evidence in this job he didn't know if any governors were actually going to meet with him or pay attention to him.
he said i got off the prop plane in harrisburg, pennsylvania, and the governor met with me. but nobody had a better relationship with the two symbiotic -- than he white house and you, beginning in the late 80s. and can you tell us what your thinking was at the time? at the end there's 45 states and 80 waivers but you started in the late 1980s. did you know it would be a tsunami or were you just doing one thing a time and finding out what happened next. >> i was doing one thing at a time but hoping fob are tsunami. chuck hobbs is a great american. he cake and talked -- tame and talked to me and president reagan campaigned for me when i first ran for governor in waukesha governor, and he said
he tried welfare reform in california and was unsuccessful. i'm counting on you, tommy, and other governors to come forward with good ideas. ike going to make it easy for and that is when they mid-chuck hobbs. remember the conversation. it was thursday afternoon in walk haw. he said i'm counting on you to come up with new innovative have ideas and i will help you. and chuck hobbs, every time i called him he was there i got waivers from reagan, george h.w. bush and president clinton. i got waivers from three sitting presidents. but everybody wanted to help and do something because they saw the problem, like john and me and other governors. we wanted to do something and change it. >> it became a tsunami. >> you would propose one or two every year, so if you were opposed to welfare reform, you
didn't any rest in the state legislature, and i think that was another factor, what do you think about that, governor engler. >> no question, tommy is right. i bumped into susan carlson and she give me memoirs from her husband, bob, who was part of the reagan revolution and part of this. we got started, president bush 41, was in office, but i -- and bruce will get into this. was stunning in 1992 to have a democratic candidate for president, a 12-year veteran in the governor's office, talking about ending welfare as we know it. what is that doing coming from the dem contract candidate? but that was a decisive moment. because of that there was to slacking off of waivers in.
one sense it validated, i think, a lot of what tommy had been doing, because here's president clinton talking about it. and so i think he -- if you look at the -- from -- from michigan standpoint and i suspect wisconsin and the northern industrial states, let's say the generosity of the welfare programs in arkansas perhaps were less whan what we were dealing with in the northern states. but if they're talking about welfare reform, we sure as heck ought to be talking about welfare reform because the disparity is significant. >> governor engler, you were in 1995 and '96, the critical year before the passage, you were chair of the republican governors association, and you, governor thompson, the same period, were chair of the nga. what a team that was.
that was juan heck of a powerhouse. >> we call those the glory years. it was. can he accomplished a great deal. >> there was a governor engler, you in particular, were looking for the maximum amount of flexibility. you said, conservative micromanagement is no better than liberal micromanagement and that's not exactly what happened in the end. what is your current thinking about the relative balance between having strong work requirements while you also have a block grant as opposed to having a unfettered block grant entirely? what's your thinking? >> i believe that the nation's governors were in no way interested in some race to the bottom. i don't think that was ever a fair criticism. we heard that certainly from one part of the debate. on the other hand we had a lot
of of people were supposed to be allies who wanted to give us a lot more help and direction. they sort of forgotten this concept that we were pretty keen on, the idea of federalism. let the states work on this. let us try to solve these problems, and that competition among the states is going to get you some pretty good results, we thought, and we didn't need -- assed said, conservative micromanagement as a replacement for liberal micromanagement. micromanagement was the problemment give us the flex exhibit let us solve the problems and, that's what you saw, and even what emerged -- the fight, obviously, in '95, you have now a republican house for the first time in 40 years, speaker gingrich, who had incorporated welfare reform into the contract with america, that was part of that document, was committed, and to his great credit -- he probably is -- if
you said single most unsung hero, has to be the speaker because he is navigating between a president running for re-election in '96. the lead are of the senate wants to be the candidate for president in 1996 and you have different agendas at reply play here but you hat the leader shiftle doing welfare reform and dying to do bodacious big things, and probably the most bodacious thing he did was the invited the governors to sit at the table and say, what do we need? and so as a result, as you know, from wisconsin, jason, but -- and jerry miller, who i mentioned earlier, and a few other states but a you had bell -- bill wells in the restorm stage and we werible to bring top staff people into the states and they worked with. guys like howard cohen because medicaid was in the first iterations.
the reason the first two bills were vetoed is the collusion of medicaid as a -- the inclusion of medicaid as a block grant, and then the medicaid came out and we got -- the old afdc program was gone, tap enough -- tanf replaced. got taken to the cloners -- cleaners and fight we cooperate win. the insurance against the race to the bottom was no restrictive of effort clause, and that deprived us of the ability to put money where we needed it, whether it was -- >> one thing you did, governor engler and thompson, with the flexibility you had which was quite extraordinary, is you created a welfare program in which everybody participated in work activities. wisconsin works had no exemption. you were in one of four work tiers, including people with
health problems. governor engler, you put out project zero in which the goal was to make certain that there were zero people at the end of the period who were doing nothing. so, in both of those cases, it's a form of universal engagement. what was your thinking at the time as to -- it was unusual because at that time you put people in categories of, can work, or can't work. that was the thinking. you guys both overrode that thinking with the universal engagement. >> i say people put. thes in the category of never work. they didn't think that was michigan we did. you were getting -- that was something we did in 1995 we changed the name to the family independence agency with the rationale we want to communicate to everyone that the support is expected to be transitional. we want to be able to move you back, but one of the changes -- we actually got some waiveers -- the making work pay.
used to be the federal rules were ridiculous. the first dollar you away you started getting a cut in benefits. didn't take throng figure out, why work? i'm no more money ahead. so we ended up in a situation where the first -- i know in michigan the rule was $200, thirst 200ys earned you had 200 more dollars. >> but there was tension because said if i don't get the bill i want to reform welfare, i'll reform one waiver at a time. and you handed a personal couple of the waiver request which he references and said we're going to do this. and then hh -- >> if my memory serves me correctly, jason turner had michigan to do with this. -- something to do with this.
but it was actually quite unusual. >> but there was one point, jason. i talked to you.having welfare mothers come in and building -- like john engler just said. brought these welfare mothers in and i gave this story, this speech on the floor of the house, and one of the committees with -- who was -- >> charlie probably. >> the congressman front florida, clay saw. and i said, welfare mothers really want to work. the vast majority really want to work. you have to give them the tools. i asked the mother why don't you go to work in they said for if we go to work we lose our heck human being for the children. i said that's student. they said, yeah. i said if we got health care for your children, would you go to work? yes, but who is going to take care of the kids if i go to work. i said, okay, what if we provide
you with daycare? so health care and daycare. they said, yes, but pregnant when i was 14 or 15 and i got a kid and i dropped out of school and i don't have any skills. what if i provide vocational opportunities for you to get a job. i said would you go to work then and they said most of the jobs are in the neighborhoods i live. and i said what if we provide transportation to go to work? and that story. the fact that welfare mothers wanted to go to work if they had the tools, and as john said, don't take the money away from them, put it back in, and we asked the federal government to give waivesser for the money we would saw, to plow it back into cake care -- daycare, health care, and transportation and education, and that the keys to making it. and you have to realize that if you give women the opportunity with tools, off of welfare -- to get off, they'll do it, and that
exactly what we diddle and what a lot of fors did. >> the other group that gets engaged here, interestingly enough, are the caseworkers because finally -- i mean a lot of people going into the work, going because they want to help people. what were doing in the past was keeping track of statistics, they were sitting in front of a computer screen maybe or just doing data. suddenly when we were doing project zero, it was interesting. different families had different needs. somebody might have had grandma to do the child cair but didn't have the transportation. somebody had the transportation and the child care but didn't have any the right clothes. literally had all kinds of things going on but the caseworkerred had to get to know the case and the family and the situation. so project zero, the first county in michigan where everybody who was on public assistance -- they were still
getting public assistance but a either had outside income or were in a training to work but all out of the home, and we knew exactly what it was going to take to help move that family to the next step. >> let me ask you this question which relates both of that and then i'll call for questions. the biggest consistent criticism of tanf today is that it's, quote, a funding stream, it's not a, quote, program. funds are going to other things than cash services to the poor or child care, and work programs, and some of its -- a lot of it is being used for child welfare, can you comment on that criticism? >> well, let me start maybe by picking on one of my good friends, john kashich, in "the new york times" saying welfare reform in 1996 didn't work. but absolutely worked. the numbers are clear imwas
looking at something -- shin ron is coming up later on, this is what he wrote. he said by 2000 the poverty raid of black children was the low els it had ever been. personal of families in deep poverty declined 35% during the period. that's ron's writing. but there's all kinds of other statistical evidence that it work. but is there more to be begin? sure. but i -- more to be done? sure. but i argue let the governors maintain the flexibility and also make -- in the rearview mirror, had we been able to block-grant medicaid i don't know what the american healthcare system would look like, and tommy and i and michael evans sat endless hours with roy, and bob miller -- the six of us, and unfortunately bruce kept changing roy's mind every time he would leave the room. send him back -- >> they came back, bruce and his gang of thieves came back and
said, you know, we can buy it without medicaid. >> bob miller -- >> we had romeary couple of times on met -- medicaid. >> but he wouldn't get pregnant. he kept passing it off. >> had we done that we would have a lot. i would say where we are today is, yes, there's continued work to be done. you have had a hostile administration. this is not a priority of the current group, not somebody who thinks like the president did who came from arkansas. i don't know what it will be in the future but if you get the kind of environment we had back then, which was, as tommy indicated, largely bipartisan. we had people on both ends, sort of like washington today, on the right and on the left, who were very troubled be different things, but those of white house -- tommy and i made the case and other governors in both
parties said, there's one difference between us in the think tank on right and left. we are actually running programs, and working with the families are, and like tommy said, we're talking to people. give the governors of america and their legislatures a chance. bring federalism back and try it. the other at concerntive isn't very good. >> let's open it up to a couple of questions. go ahead. >> it did work. and as john says it did work. poverty went down and more people were working, and in wisconsin, we had a caseload of over 100,000 witch went down below 10,000 people on afdc when we were really on top of. you have to manage and it change it but you got to also -- as john said, if we could have block-granted medicaid, we could have changed the healthcare and
made the system even better. and the problem is, if bogey going to make my program work you have to have people, look the john englers and the jason turners that are going to be involved and make the changes necessary to keep it going, and what has happened, nobody is really picked up the cud gel like us governors in the '90s did went it to work. we made sure it worked because we were very skeptical and very upset with people saying, oh, john inningler and tommy thompson want to race to the money and get the money and spend it on something else the farthest thing from our mind. we wanted the best program possible and that's the attitude and the ideas you have to work to make it work. >> absolutely. management and policy. okay, right here. identify yourself, please.
>> my name is sheryl buffered and i have any own consulting group. governor engler, appreciated your comment about the salvation army. i'm wondering what the impact of charitable choice as an amendment to the '96 welfare reform -- what you saw as the impact of that. >> i'm not sure i'm able to give you a good analysis. i just put it under the category of whatever flexibility can be created, and can be done constitutionally, legally, i'm all for it. all charity -- i wouldn't say all -- much of charity only was faith-based in the beginning, so i certainly have no problem going back to some of the people who are the most experienced to call pop their help. -- call upon their help.
>> question? yes. >> so in recent years when there was some discussion of tanf reauthorization there was a discussion draft that was going to create more flexibility for education and training. and there were sort of disputes over that and it didn't happen. you talked about education and training. obviously the moynihan example of just education and training doesn't work but there is a way to combine work requirement and education and training. >> it's absolutely vital. if you're going to really help people get out of poverty you have to put the resource inside education and training, and train them for jobs available and out there. don't train from their jobs that aren't there. it's a waste of mr. money and -- waste of their money and time.
and it has to be a key part of tanf changes. especially vocational training. so many jobs that go wanting and a little vocational training, especially in the healthcare field. crying for people to toe get into it and that could really help a lot of welfare mothers get out of welfare and out of assistants into the work force. >> one stunning thing to me -- you can only too things over again but it is a mystery to me why people who care about poverty don't care about public education in urban areas. how in the world can you sit that debate out. in detroit, the national report card, the reagan score is just five percent of detroit children could read proficiently at the end of the third grade but everybody who lives in the suburb, it's 36% of the nation's population. believe america should teach all children to read by the time
they're done with the third grade. we're teaching one in three today. everybody has to be literal. if you can't read, how can you be able to succeed? we spent $650 billion a year on the k through 12 seasonment and -- establishment and it's everybody's good to get that starting to pay in dividends for us. and tommy is right. the vocational training is very important. one of the big myths that has been talked about in this country is everybody needs to go to college. everybody does not need to go to college. everybody needs to have a skill and be a able to do something and it's america, everybody can go to college, but as we raise graduation rates, you look at remediation rates in college they have gone along in tandem and today half the people who go to college don't graduate. so if you want to increase graduation, its the fact we
don't graduate half of who we do enroll. >> yes, right here. >> john and i were leading the efforts in welfare reform and also leading the same efforts on education, and we had several retreats up in new york and so on and so north that we invoted all the governors, and john and i were the co-convenors of that along with roy and lawton and tom -- >> kearner was very involved. >> so the governors back then realized, education -- jujus can not do welfare reform on the cheap. and education is so important. thank you for the question. >> yes. >> hi, randy schmidt. in interest of full disclosure i was in wisconsin during the w2, i saw it more than i wanted to. but i'm really interested in fact that wisconsin has done so much welfare reform, and now speaker ryan is very interested
in poverty as well. how do you think that the experiences in wisconsin translate to this interest in maybe policy he might look at. >> i think to the are all caughtally related. paul was very much involved in -- with jack kemp, and he really is passionate about it. just like i was, on trying to change welfare for the better. not save now but actually give poor people an opportunity to get out of poverty and get into a meaningful job. and paul is passionate about it and i'm absolutely certain because wisconsin was leading the effort back then when he was starting to run for congress, that he definitely carried that to washington and will continue to carry it to washington. one of his driving forces right now. >> and one important thing is you have governors who bring things to the congress and say, i want to do that.
that's one of the things you hear from congress. withdon't have the man from the bottom we don't have dough to work with in the congress. >> tommy and i are strong arguments against term limits because both of us labored in the minority in the legislator and had to stomach thing are wes didn't like so by the time we got to the governor's office -- we had a few ideas. >> go ahead. >> stand up and announce and then she'll bring it to you. >> phil -- university of maryland. -- john engler and tommy thompson are going to outpunch the federal government anytime, but federal initiatives got started because the states weren't able to develop. are most states held by tommy thompsons and ongoing engler to deliver? >> hell no. >> that's why we're coming back.
>> we're as good once as we ever war. is that the song? >> i think -- let me be very honest. think most governors and most congressmen andwomen and senators run for the right reasons. i don't think you're going to find -- you're going to find exceptions and most governors, republicans and democrats, are dedicated to do what is right and what is best for their state and their people. >> we have room for one at most two. the governors have a hard stop at 3:45. in the back. just start talking and we'll get it to you. >> my name is -- i'm the pakistani -- my question is in the context of the economy. we are unable to support very poor people, and according to this, most people who have computers and the videos but
then they get their electric supply cut off. isn't that a problem of mindset, that somehow it's more important for me to have luxury items bums i shouldn't be responsible about paying my bills than anything else? thanks. >> well, yes, people should pay their bills. it's fascinating to me that people will pay a phone bill but -- in detroit they weren't paying their water bill because the city didn't collect the water bell. people are smart. people make rational, economic decisions. that's part of what we try to do, is helping people try to move from poverty to independence, is in any case you spend a lot of time -- i was on thatboard nor a number of years, gary mcdougal is a great leader, working with families. how too you manage money? how do you do this things?
you have to pay electric bills and today because of the cable runs off the electricity, detroit were paying electric bills but just not paying water bills. >> last question. right there. >> i'm cathleen kelly frank. just for context for my question. work in policy around welfare reform from 1985 to 1995. so, governor thompson, when you talk about you reduced the welfare rolls from 100,000 to 10,000 -- >> let's then 10,000. >> are there any longitudal studies documenting what happened to the 90,000? for example, did family stability increase? were the children better taken care of? did the children have pet are -- better outcomes? did the parents get employment to earn a live wage, et cetera,
or did some simply drop out of the system? are there such study. >> all kinds of studies. study after study. >> including, governor -- >> you were part of this. >> this lady over here was also part of it. the implementation of wisconsin works, the state actually went on to its computer system and tracked down everybody to find out what happened, how many got employed, and how many were still employed after two years. extraordinarily high number who found employment in the '60s or '70s and we'll get you that when you see me afterwards we'll get you that study. with that the team -- good ahead. >> i need to say one thing. we had a stronger economy. right knew we've got -- i'm at
the business roundtable, so we exist -- >> come on now, john. no commercials, for god sake. >> not a commercial. i'm just telling you, we measure these things and this is a very poor economic -- so you can't -- don't separate -- people say what difference does the economy make? it makes al the different. if we had 3-1/2% financed growth, not 1 and a-1/2 there we more opportunities. there are five or sick million unfilled jobs. there would be a lot more jobs period if you had a more robust economy. if you're a subject issue voter i would say don't forget the overall economy because that provides tubs, -- opportunities and aid hart when it's not there. >> left me ask the audience to thank the chairmen. thank you for coming. [applause]
-- >> to the clinton administration which paid a large role in sign thing welfare act of 1996. i'm in the -- i have to say right up front that i'm -- seem us like everyone in the room i played no role in the draft organize writing of the original welfare reform act, and i want to also say that we felt it was important -- there will be other events on topics, to talk about the history and politics and process of the signing of this act. and that's the purpose and inspiration of this event today. i do have to say one point about where is. i was a director of the child support enforcement office in new york state after the bill was sign, and i can remember the very first briefings when leads
over the assembly and the governor's office were brought together in the senate to brief on what the act meant for new york, and i can tell you the look on the face of the career bureaucrats and the staffers when they've saw what was about to happen to new york state. so much of what happened since then could not have happened if president clinton had not signed the bill. so die have a personal vested interest, although i was not like so many of you here, involved in the signing. to help us understand what was going on in the clinton administration and what led president clinton to sign it we have distinguished group here. i want to say that -- i want to be clear and honest with you that we reached out to the most important member of the bill clinton administration, and unfortunately he could not attend. but we got the second most important member on the issue in bruce reed. he was the chief -- former chief
policy adviser to president clinton and has been a chief of staff to vice president biden and was one of the driving forces for the bill in the clinton administration from the white house. next to bruce is will marshal, who represents a cosponsor, the public policy institute. he cofound the democratic leadership conferencin' 1985. in 1992 he man dated change which was the policy blueprint for clinton's initiative and he wrote the welfare reform chapter. then finally -- i want to say, this event today is very much emblematic of the old adage that winners write the history. and -- but we have one exception and that is we have win wendell primer who is adviser to the minority lead are the united
states house of representative but the dep tip secretary of the united states department of health and human services and wendell is one of the three very important top level officials who in the wake of president clinton signing the act resigned. so we're very glad and appreciative for you to come to this celebration. we asked others. you're not the only one we reached out to. but as i say, history sometimes gets written by the winners and maybe that what this session seems like. so i want to start off we bruce because -- this may be the most obvious question bus still debated and that was, what was the main motivation for president clinton to sign the first bill? to fulfill a campaign process to end welfare as we know it? to put in place big changes which would benefit missouri -- more americans, which the truly believed in, or help the upcoming campaign of senator dole. >> the campaign wasn't a factor.
by point bill clinton had been leading senator dolby ten points. he was headed for a comfortable win -- poor bob dole never quite recovered from the two government shutdowns and a booming question. some when the president got us together to debate whether he should sign it or not, said politics is -- let's set it aside and talk about the merits. what motivated him, he was from a poor state and had seen how much people on welfare wanted to go to work and he wanted to get something done and end a broken system and replace it with a system built on work, and he was pretty happy actually, given we were dealing with a congress of the other party, with the welfare reform provisions of the welfare bill. we had been successful in getting a lot of child care money in the build.
we had real work requirements. tough child support enforcement and a strong maintenance of effort. we had performance intentions for states that did well -- performance incentives for states that did well. what made the decision more complicated this republican congress added poison pills piln the hopes the president would veto the bill. in the end he felt that he was pretty confident he would be able to restore the cuts in the budget talks in the ensuing year, but that he didn't think that it was at all clear that historic chance to end welfare as we know it and reform the welfare system would ever come around again. so, i think he was determined to
keep that campaign promise to end welfare as we know it, a promise he felt meant as much to people on welfare as it did to the american people. >> bruce, can i follow up with one question? do you texas that chairman shaw viewed the bill as hoping he would veto? >> i don't think so. the welfare reform debate in a very contentious couple of year period, brought out some of to the worth in washington and some of the best. some of the worst was that we head both side sparring to try to stop the pill from happening. ironically, many republicans who had advocated for welfare reform for dedicates, trying to add poison pills at the last moments in hopes it would fall and wouldn't get done. and then democratic party that
had always been the party that put people to work, the party that lift -- aspired to lift people out of poverty, having deep reservations about be a bill that would make a serious attempt to do that. in the end we were able to persuade a majority from both parties to support the bill and the american people and people on welfare got what they wanted. >> will, give us a sense of what you think what led president clinton and others like him to decide the whole system had to cheng, and here i want you to talk about values that the old system didn't really endorse, and also evidence, and work like david elwood would support. >> thanks, robert, and let me also thank you and other partners here for including pti. it's important to underscore the partisan providence of this
historic bell and wouldn't eave happened without the political forces that existed in 1996. i never thought i would be nostalgic for newt gingrich but strange things happen in politics if you stay in long enough. this grew out of the new democratic conversation of change and reform following the '84 campaign and there was a moment where we were all thinking way new, and even before bill clinton came on the scene, people of the dlc were giving speeches looking more skeptically at what the war on poverty, which is -- his stepfather launched -- had brought over the years, and certainly looking at the evidence that we were losing the initiative in the war on poverty. we saw poverty rising, child are poverty rising, family structure unraveling. and teenaged pregnancy rite
raitts rising, and so the system didn't seem to be working, and daniel patrick moynihan gets credit for the family support act, even the republican regime at the time, but we we are also looking at that and the jobs program and not seeing much success in moving people from welfare to work on a training paradigm. did not seem to be very effective. results according to exhausting manpower demonstrations studies i plowed through were marginal at best. there was something like a very broad social consensus and political consensus across the spectrum that the status quo in welfare was unsustainable and needed to be changed. we disagreed and eventually fell out. but i don't think not that many people defending the status quo, some die hard folks in our party 'oshade more money for education and training we get jobs to work.
never thought that would happen. but i think there's congealing consensus in the country based on the evidence and the things governors were doing. w2 came later but we watched the reforms happening in wisconsin and california, the welfare to work moves, enabled by waive veries and were implemented by what we saw and that all fed the view we should change. and the second point is values, and a lot to do with the democratic party's philosophy and that the old system seemed not to have positive incentives for work, for strong family formation. it seemed to, as kenny gray, who is in the management movement, very close to jack kemp, said a system that rewards you when you fail but no positive incentives to succeed. that was certainly bill clinton's view, that we needed a
a statement that created the right incentives for the valued that are productive work and family and personal initiative and always being striving towards self-sufficiency, and he also based it on critique of the entitlement mentality. think during the campaign he talked about two years and out. the idea that welfare was in danger of becoming a way of life anded inned to go back to something that was transitional and a support to to people to become independent. so work first was the mantra. and remember the first thing he did was not to sign the bill in 1996. the very first thing he did to lay the predicate for a successful social policy revolution was the dramatic examination of the earned income tack credit. $22 billion expansion. the reason that was important because we said it's immoral to demand that low income people work if they're going to take jobs that don't pay them enough
to lift them out of poverty. so we said you have to make work pay first and then talk about time limits and ultimately ending the entitlement. so president clinton is elected in 1992, and one of the first things he does is appoint a working group on welfare reform, cochaired by david elwood and bruce and mary jane. and wonder about thinking about that, the large group, maybe not a decisionmaking body. did you feel like -- was that at useful exercise or had the white house already made up its mind. >> i think it was a very useful exercise. i learned 0 couple of things. had run a similar process on the hill around the grant lud bodyman budget act and it was
easier to get 30 people to agree on things than to get 30 people in the administration -- theoretically on the hill there's 535 bosses on the democratic side. you think try would be more disparity, but in the administration you're base cliff working for one guy, the president. and, yes, the vice president is also elected, so you would think there would be easier agreement, but you had the treasury department, the everybody thought they had a piece of the action and it was very hard to get agreement. i say looking back on it, i think we did some very good things. the child support enforcement provisions that were hammered out by the clinton administration were basically adopted by clay shaw and ron hasskins and the republicans. and we had different working groups. for example, one of the reasons welfare rolls were exploding us
a out of wedlock births and teen pregnancy rates were climbing. the can he was how to turn the pregnancy rates around. every year, since 1996, save one, teen pregnancy rates have gone down, and as a consequence the thing that feeds the welfare rolls have gone down. we worried a lot about what tommy thompson aid, about work support, how much money there should be, and i agree with bruce in the sense that the bill, as finally passed by congress, had $54 billion of savings associated with it. 44% of those were in the immigrant area, noncitizen area, but legal immigrants. i'm not talking illegal here but talking about taking benefits away from legal immigrants and 43% over the cuts were in the food stamp area.
not what we're talking about today. the time limits and afdc. and it was those things that drove the analysis that said a lot more kids would be put in poverty, et cetera. but what i wanted to come back to was i think the work we did, did lay the foundation from some very good things, and the other thing i'll say about this welfare reform debate, and it's still with us today, and that is five out of six of children been out of wedlock or living in single mother families live with the female, and we give the female the money to take care of the children. so we and can the female side of the edition be the parent, the caretakers and the breadwinneres. and what about the male side? children don't come into the world automatically. there's a male side to this equation, and the question is, we have problems with young male
unemployment rates today, and the question still remains -- we worked on things like paternity establishment. usually that male is very proud when he baby is in the hospital, and we got paternity establishment. this is based on work done at the local level. that was a time you find out about the paternity establishment because if the mother goes on welfare at 16 months this months, you have to track down the guy you got establish an order, all of that, and if you can get paternity established, you're halfway home. so those were the details we worked on. >> wendell, i have to follow up on one thing with you because you mentioned the two thing president president clinton spoke harsh live about it. the immigration provision the food stamp cuts. remind me. was that the reason that you decided to resign, that he
signed a bill with that or was it giving up of the entitlements? >> i think democrats -- it wasn't the into it. ment nature and wasn't about the college work. democrats were for work, too despite what some republicans would tell you. it really was my simple way of thinking, if cbo said you save $55 billion, how do you think you will be improving child welfare. i did not think that -- take benefits -- ssi benefits, fairly generous by welfare standards -- away from legal immigrant's who were age 70 who had no prospect of work, and who had been in the country many years, and that was a $12 million savings. the 1997 act changed all of
that. so, the welfare bill as we know it never got -- took place, and i came from the dan -- you draw a line in the stand, and if you cross that line you don't sign. so -- >> that's very helpful because president clinton in his statement said, we'll come back and get to those things fixed. so my next question, coming back to you, bruce, us the clinton administration succeeded in passing welfare reform and failed on healthcare reform an effort led by the first lady at the time, mrs. clinton. seemed your approach worked better. what was it about what you did that was better than what she was doing? >> my office was next to ira, so i always think we -- they started first and we came second and we were the youngest sibling
learning from watching. but it's a lot easier to take on an issue when you're -- as we were, when you weren't face $100 million of industry advertising, where you weren't -- the town wasn't crawling with lobbyists who had a financial stake one way or the other. remember, tom moynihan when he was leading the opposition against the welfare bill, lamented, remembering his time of getting his head handed to him in the nixon administration when he tried to fight for guaranteed income -- that he said -- looked down the streets of washington and said, where are the -- where is the lobbyist to stand up for the poor? so, we had plenty of difficult battles. plenty of difficult family feuds, but the american people were with us. people were trying to help were with us.
this governors, critically, were with us and it helped it wasn't a partisan issue. there were unhappy republicans and democrats and supportive republicans and democrats. i think in retrospeck everybody agreed if there has been a way to pursue both at the same time there was a substantive reason to do that because as the governors pointed out, the many people living welfare faced a problem of where are they going to get health care? so that was a problem that could have been better solved together. i think that the -- for americans to take a chance on health reform, they needed to be reassured that -- -- like the
values and could implement a program. what had to be fixed in the welfare system. >> i have to do this, bruce. i didn't tell you in advance i would do this. ... >> we will leave it at that. >> he wants the leak question. over the course of the two-year process there were leaks about the administration's plan and controversy over the report the number of children that would end up in poverty, was anyone in the administration reprimanded or the white house appeared to
act like these things happen and overreacting to just make things worse? >> i thought those were despicable. when you sign up for an administration, that's who you work for. if you have a difference with the president, take that and present it to him or to her specially if it's a president like bill clinton, he surrounded himself with people with different points of view precisely because he we wanted to hear that debate. having that debate in the press was shameful. everybody administration compliance about it. i think the fact that we had such a problem with it wasn't a management problem, it was because this was such a tough issue within the democratic family and feeling ran really
strong and there were a few times when -- when -- when it was made apparent to some of the administration that maybe they want to straighten up. >> wendell, do you want to comment? >> yeah, let me begin by saying i was completely authorized in the sense of the 1990 budget agreement i was working for the democrats and we did a deficit reduction analysis questioning the rich per bearing the deficit reduction or the poor. raising someone's taxes or cutting someone's services or benefits, and when we lost the majority in the congress leon was very concerned about
medicare, job training, all the block granting that was going to go on and i got a call from the omb chief saying please replicate that analysis and that's what we were going to do when the house passed budget bill, we were expect today look at whether the poorer were paying for that deficit reaction and whether the rich and i got the bright idea if i could do that, i could count the number of children that were moving across this arbitrary line called the poverty line. and i do think as, you know, policy makers, administration officials do want to know the impact. and when we wrote that initial memo, i made very sure that 400 kids were taken out of poverty because of the eit changes that were enacted as part of the budget bill and then, you knowics what was the question,
what was the welfare impact and that really was because of the fsi changes and food stamp changes, et cetera. i think those estimates were valid and they didn't leak for a long time. the president will show them. i got a call from bruce but they didn't leak for about six weeks and i did not do the leaking. [laughter] >> it's in the record. >> maybe a little easier question for the three of you and will you can start off because you brought up the idea that welfare reform was more about what we did in tanif work support and we come on the decision on medicaid. earlier panel expressed concern about that. is it fair to say that helping people retain their health insurance when they go to work was easier with medicaid not block granted? in other words, that decision may actually have helped the
ability of agencies to ensure that when they went to work and off cash, they could retain some public health insurance? >> well, i think certainly democrats thought that way that it should not be block granted. it was safer if it were not block granted and we could make that assurance. you know, the block grant was not bill clinton's idea. in the earlier years of groundwork laying on what became the work architecture but that was one of the price that is you pay when you enter into a bipartisan negotiation. at the time i learned to love block grant, a performance block grant where you can really hold the actors accountable for achieving the goals layed out in the grant. i don't think we've done that on the tanif grant. sorry we didn't have a chance to talk with the governors about it
because there was confidence in in the idea that states would follow the letter and spirit of the '96 bill with the broad grant responsibility that they got through the block grant and i don't think that's quite happened. so i don't think many democrats were down to take a big risk on medicaid to go along with the tanif block grant. >> do you want to make a comment? >> yeah, there was a huge literature in the 1900's about the welfare trap. the fact that if mothers left welfare, they would lose medicaid, governor thompson was absolutely correct. with the affordable care act and other changes we have made, that is basically gone. that welfare trap, you can get health insurance now for your kids whether you're on welfare or off welfare and i think, you know, the evidence is still, you know, what has become of this
welfare reform effort, et cetera, et cetera. but i think it's very hard to disentangle the impacts of welfare reform from the other very good things that bill clinton did, roaring economy, chip program, raising minimum wage, all those things. and i think slowly the affordable care act has made a big difference in improving the welfare of kids and that literature, larry can correct me in the next panel, that literature is gone. >> bruce, the president calls together top aides, yourself in press conference before he said, i had to do it, they signed it last night, i had to call them together and after i did work around the house, i called them all over and you were there and you did the final briefing for him, the final word advocated,
despite the fact, by the way that only cabinet official supportive mickey canter. >> could you give us a sense of that meeting and most important we are around politicians a lot and we are not deeply grounded in the details of particular issues. where is president clinton on the -- does he -- did he give you the sense that he knew more about this than secretary in the hhs and people -- i didn't mean about you but just generally, a sense as a policy person. >> well, that was one of the great joying of working with him on domestic policy, was i always knew that he would know more than i did. it was most profound on this particular issue because he had been a national leader from the time he come to governorship. he had been in more welfare
offices than any other governor. he had a feel for this that nobody else in town could touch and i vividly remember one meeting in the cabinet room when wendell, david and mary, the middle of '94 and david and mary jo really wanted to have that meeting to make sure the president was up to speed and the conversation got started and the president said, president asked him about, did you see the latest mrdc report and what do you think about that, and they were so happy -- they couldn't believe it that -- that he was the best student they had ever had.
>> he may have known a lot before he got to be a student. >> yes, he did. and he also understood -- part of what matters in these things is understanding how it's going to really work when it gets out there to the states, so bill clinton understood that that a welfare block grant if it was well funded wasn't the end of the world because the welfare entitlement at the state level wasn't worth that much. they could set state benefits in the old way but medicaid block grants would be just misery for poor kids because when that pot of money was in front of state legislature, big share for long-term care and there wouldn't be much left to provide health care for poor kids. i guaranty you there wasn't a welfare academic in the country who understood that dynamic. so it was -- when we got to the
meeting in the cabinet room where he wanted to hear everybody's point of view, you know, i think he was genuinely torn about the pros and cons of the overall package and he was ticked off that the republican leadership had sent him a bill on an issue that they should have supported opening that he would veto it. so what i remember most about that meeting is simply that everybody recognized the historic importance of the decision, that, you know, none of us knew what the outcome would really be but it usually meetings around the cabinet room table, people are pounding their fists and overstating their case and -- and, you know, this was
the most composed i've ever seen a debate like this. even rob passed that debate. he was violently for it but didn't weigh in. i think people recognized that they didn't want to sell the president on fear on this and we said what we honestly thought and he didn't decide, went into overtime, went into the oval office and had same arguments again and -- [laughter] >> and eventually as someone pointed out that the house needed a signal because they were going to vote on it and he said, okay, let's do it. >> well, he says -- some of the reports or maybe in books, as he went and saw the vice president, he wanted the vice president to say where he was, he we wanted to press the vice president a little bit. >> the vice president didn't want to make -- it's one of those decisions where that's
what the president gets paid for and it was clear he was going to have to life with the outcome no matter what. and what president clinton said after he came back from announcing it was how -- how you never know how how sure you are about a decision until you hear yourself say it and as he -- as he made the case for it in the press room, i think he became convinced that it was right. >> it's a great statement. i urge you to google it when he announced that he was going to sign it. last question because we have a tough panel coming. in a statement to the press after we talked about, president clinton said 100% of the people with strong views on both sides recognized and respect the power of the arguments on the other side. and i also want to point out
that when the house did the final vote, final speech was made by the chair, he went across and gave his final remarks from the democratic side of the house in an effort to reach out and we haven't mentioned to the extent to which it was an overwhelming bipartisan vote. but my question now we will talk about today, has that been lost and wendell, do you wanting to first? >> well, i think over the last 20 years it's a little hard to make the case that there's less partisanship, clearly there is more and i guess i will use my example of the affordable care act. the evidence that it is working from survey data, administrative data, we have lowered the number of unsured by 20 million at least. we have driven healthcare costs to their lowest increases ever,
and, you know, when you look at the 50 times that the demise of aca has been debated on the house floor, the evidence on the other side is really, i think, lacking. so i think we ought to engage in more bipartisan bills. we have some big problems in this country, dealing with the demographic bulge. i think we have to return to evidence and -- and having talks across the aisle to address some of our very severe problems. >> bruce or will. >> well, i would say that -- that let's not romanticize the
90's. it was very difficult and there was a lot of bitter partisanship as well. what made welfare reform then was that president clinton was a big believer of compromise. if you're going to get something done, both sides had to come away feeling like it was a fair deal and that neither side had a monopoly on the truth and it was important to take best ideas on both sides an not kill each other trying to stop the other's sides ideas from happening. i think that spirit is still inside the hearts of most people who work here. the incentives in the political work against it, there's ever increasing feedback if you tried to say anything interesting, you get shot down quicker now than you did then.
so it takes a lot -- a lot more steel and spine. but the payoff is big. we have enormous problems that aren't going to get solved any other way and i think there's a -- every time i've seen it where republicans an democrats work together and got behind closed doors and actually talked to each other about what the real problems were and what they might do to solve it, there's a revelation that comes to all of them that maybe -- maybe we are not nearly as bad as the american people think we are. [laughter] >> maybe there isn't any problem that we can solve. >> i'm under strong introductions from the rest of my panels. >> that's right. i want to make a point about the political impact about all of this. what's different then from now is behind -- it was very fracti
uos. it wasn't just a welfare system but inner city schools, public housing system, child support, we saw it broken in a lot of ways and, you know, the great -- the great no verty here is a democratic president led the way to changing it. but the politics and the substance, first of all, it had to be changed because it wasn't working for poor people. second because it wasn't working for the people who had to pay the bill. as a result of that welfare had been the terrible toxic wedge issue in the middle of american politics for a generation, nixon's campaign on, ronald reagan did wonderful things with welfare queens. by the time bill clinton came, new democrat, we were sick of this and decided that the system is not working, we are not going to defend it and we got to
realign social policies so that first it helps the people it's intended to help and secondly it can win the support of the american people and it was a gamble. we weren't sure this was going to work out as well as it did even though there are problems which you will get to later. it was taking that gamble and welfare has disappeared from the public debate. now, there are some people, mainly republican that is try to find some way to get the old welfare back into it. that's a fundamental difference and i don't think anybody should be ashamed of bringing the substance and policy together to improve the system, not the jury for all time but to make definite improvement. >> we have a great panel coming up. thanks very much.
this on book tv on prime time tonight here on c-span2. >> we have more on the 1996 welfare law 20 years after signed by president clinton. ron haskins as well as senator jim talent. [inaudible conversations] >> thank you. this is a panel from the perspective of congress. [inaudible conversations] >> this is a panel of the winners. we don't have winner. my name is mickey kaus, i
covered welfare for the new republic, i thought i was covering it. i saw the democratic side not so much the republican side so i have a lot to learn here. my job mainly consists of calling haskins on the phone and he would say i have a big problem but i'm going take care of it and it seemed like ron never lost. [laughter] >> it was pretty extraordinary and also i learned that every other reporter in town was doing exactly the same thing so it's not special access to ron, he controlled the entire press core of washington. so we really have a good panel from the congressional perspective. we have ron who to be what mr. weaver took panel of low salience where people went when they were freshman and produced
the major piece of legislation of the clinton administration. we have robert rector at the heritage foundation was the prime mover of a lot of the forces that led to the bill. somebody once described he's powered by his own source of nuclear power who is basically unstoppable. the senate that comes after the anecdote is you can get a done if you work with congressman. he was obviously a player. so this is basically a historic session but i'm sure we will get into fight. i hope you fight amongst yourselves because i'm not going
to be able to do it. i would like to -- >> i said in between robert. >> okay. [laughter] >> and the first period from wherever the mid-80's, wherever you want to start to the contract, how did we get there, what do you think the key elements were and as a moderate or if you're throwing your worst in the proceedings, the worst mistake was, you can then throw in the most brilliant move you've made. if you have an opportunity to throw that in, please throw that in. ron, please start with you. >> i think the most important thing about reform, it was not a topic that anybody was talking about. this, of course, even before
clinton was president, the republican started talking on ways and means about welfare reform and we had jurisdiction over most of the big problems so it was always a natural topic. and then i think when clinton was elected, several members noticed that whenever he was behind specially in the midwest in the polls he would haul out welfare reform and it worked. so there was a lot of, i would call it almost jealousy that there's a democrat making time talking about welfare reform and i think it turned out to be important later because it's so the idea that he was -- he did it primarily for political reasons, i personally never believed that. clay shaw, the most important republican in welfare reform other than robert rector, of course, and almost tied with jim but somewhat committee.
here is what i think happened as we built up the bills, series of bills, was first that we developed a team of experts. now you will be amazed to here that a lot of republicans could not spell afdc. [laughter] >> they didn't know anything about welfare reform and so it was very important that we developed a team of people that knew what they were talking and people like shaw, jim, probably the most important, i bet you a nickel you didn't know more about it before this debate. second thing is we worked out doing a policy and passing the bill in congress depends on lots of relationships. i think that's one reason that we have trouble passing bills now and these relationships developed over three, four, to
five year period. and then third was learning the substantive issues, writing the legislation, you know, learning about the statutes that were in place and what we really want to do and finally, i think the most important thing was that we found out where we disagreed. and we knew going in we were going to have big problem with heritage and that robert was going to be breathing down our necks the whole time and it turned out bill bennett was like that too. there were definitely cracks in the republican party. it's not like we all were sing ing comekumbaya and started developing solutions before we were in the limelight. >> i remember it was stun to go me when you and heritage came in with your -- with the agenda. i thought everybody was all happy and could pass a nice fair
bill. >> right, this is how i would say the welfare reform came about. it started with ronald roguan, he wanted parents to work in exchange for benefits and hhs blocked him from doing that. when he got into the white house, ronald reagan year after year saw one thing which was a work requirement which was afdc mothers and that got blocked by democratic congress year after year and his second term reagan had an adviser which is the fore runner of welfare reform. his name is chuck hobbs. we are not going to get what we want which is a work requirement for afdc moms so i will do an end run. i will invent this thing call waivers. the point of waivers is not
because he believed that all the wisdom was out in the states, chuck wanted and reagan wanted work fair for afdc moms. those two states will allow us to overcome fundamental objects which are going to create lots of poverty and moreover the standard montra the worker system costs much more than the status quo therefore you can't do it, can you? that really had blocked efforts to reform and chuck said, we have to breakthrough that. we have to show that that is absolute nonsense and all i need to do that is two states and he got them, wisconsin and/oror. that enabled us to set the ground and say it's not true that a work state is more expensive than handout system
and chuck set the waiver process in places but then along came clinton and clinton took ronald reagan's lines. the bush administration was saying waivers, waivers. bush allowed clinton to take away reagan's issue from him. allowed clinton to flank him on the right, from my perspective that's the issue that put clinton in the white house in ' 92 and put him in there. and then what happened was you guys didn't do welfare reform. you did gays in the military and hillary care and when you did
tried to do the bill you ran into this budget rule. cbo said that anything you had -- you did was going to cost more than the status quo and so every bill up to the contract from america, the work requirements didn't take place until you were outside the budget window, right? eight, nine ten years out so that you can get beyond this ridiculous cbs core. one of the things that we did in the summer of '94 was first of all we said we are going to block grant afdc so it doesn't matter what cbo says it costs but also convince the republican party that cbo was full of it, okay, and that the standard conventional wisdom from the big beltway band its was if you put work program in it'll reduce case load by 5% in over two
years. i knew from my experience in going back 15 years i could get a 920% reduction in the afdc program in about two months with a work requirement. in fact, it would cost the case load to go down rapidly and would save money and that allowed us to get past the sort of budgetary hurdle that you guys were still stuck with and the republican bills were also stuck with that leading up to the contract with america, the worst thing i ever did was to tell jim talent that he was wasting his time to work on the contract for america and he should ignore it. i'm glad he didn't. >> you know, from my perspective , i think the coming together, the proximity in town and also in time really abled people -- well, since i'm in this group i shouldn't say really able but people across town in the
scholarly community, politicians, governors who actually cared about what was happening in lower-income america. now everybody cares here in the sense that if they could snap their fingers and make things better for poor people, they would, but cared in the sense which is meaningful in this town, which is i am willing to take some risks, i'm willing to examine some of my positions on all of this, i'm willing to spend some money. i'm willing to go a little bit on a limb and make it a priority over time and see what emerges. and i have to tell you, i don't think -- i'm not a guy who runs washington down a lot. i was here a long time. i actually liked almost all of my colleagues, but i think that's unusual and it went on for a long time. the foundation was layed by a lot of good writing across the spectrum from charles, alice,
larry, a lot of people, bruce and others and i think so we all kind of got together and i was -- i don't know how many -- i was a second-term congressman. i didn't deal directly with the administration. it was mostly republicans in the house, but, you know, we talked about clay, nancy johnson, tim hutchison. i mean, there's so many names and people were trying to figure out what would work. from our perspective and i think a lot of democrats felt this way too, you know, the two best antipoverty programs that have gotten, the programs that have gotten americans out of po vert for generation are work and marriage, basically and what we have done condition assistance to poor people of them not engaging in that and that's oversimplification and we we wanted to fix it.
i'm sorry, if you work for one of those organizations. this is an example. when we did the community renewal act, which was a follow-up to this and the president signed in 2007, the only signing ceremony i ever attended. i went over there for that. it wasn't a huge thing. it was a lot of pilot programs. and the press said, how much is this going to cost. okay, we have a score and i'm going to give it to you and i want everybody to step back and ask yourself this question. do you think this bill will really help to renew the worst and most distressed communities in the country, okay. if you don't think that, then
you don't want to support the bill, fine. okay. if you do think that, how can it cost money? i mean, think about it. how can it end up costing us money if we are going to bring all the neighborhoods -- it can't. yowk what -- i don't care what cbo says. it can't cost money. i don't know if i call them a mistake. the regret was that we were never able to take the out of wedlock birthrate issue and encapsulated and still haven't till this -- >> then all eyes turn today congress and there's a history that follows that which culminates in clinton vetoing
twice and then something happens to get the republicans to start it up again and produce a bill that he could sign. so and at some point the governors weigh in and lobby for devolution -- perhaps some unidentified aide said they wanted congress to leave money in a stump in the middle of the forest so they could take it. [laughter] >> ron, do you want to talk about the post contract history? >> yes. a lot of things happened. a big difference going in and clay shaw and republicans always want to pass a bill and santorum had been there 30 seconds and he we wanted to pass a bill. that was a big part of our thinking. other people want to make political point, show the
president was a wimp and contrast and we we wanted to close the gap so we could pass a bill, and so that conditioned our thinking a lot. republicans were clinically depressed after the second time that they didn't sign the bill. people thinking, what's next. we have done all of this work, sent it through twice and what really happened that got kick-started, there are other underlying factors, it just so happen that the nga was in town. i think it was beginning of february and they had a plan and it was bipartisan. call gingritch. >> no.
we have ten minutes to go so we have to be quick, but didn't it have to do with dole versus clinton. he-- >> they requested a meeting with newt and told them straight up that our bill and achievements by the republican revolution which hadn't done anything is way more important than dole's candidacy. we are going pass the bill. and that's what we did. >> i want to jump in. >> the president didn't take the campaign into account, i never thought that thaws a big part of clintons and i think people from the outside look at this and they see a linear connection.
if you don't have a political base, you can't achieve it. successful politicians understand. i was a second-term congressman. i never thought we sent it over there hoping he would veto it so that dole could win the election and i know -- i've -- i have been in enough of those tables to know that it just -- i don't care what happens on tv, that is not -- i never thought that the president said, oh, i'm going to lose the election unless i -- just stop and think about this for a minute. of course, in the back of my mind he would have said to himself, this probably makes the next three weeks a little easier. it's just not how they make decisions. >> robert, do you agree? >> i agree in the fact that dole had been weak on welfare reform,
the fact that dole had been weak on welfare reform and bungled it during election bid only reinforced that. >> i find it hard to believe maybe because it's i'm a political reporter and we don't like to grant sincerity to anybody. i can't believe republicans would have done the same thing. >> he managed to tick a lot of people off. he had been an impediments in the senate. he ran horribly on it. what he did on the campaign when he was running for the president, he said, oh, they came up with this big -- they did a focus group and they found that people really like drug-testing for recipients. okay, they're going to have this big -- we are going to do drug
test for recipients but dole, dole was a big state's flexibility guy, so sole says, okay, they have a big press conference. they roll this out, big new initiative and we are going to require drug testing except it will be a state option at which point clinton says within it, it's three minutes, he says, okay. you can have a waiver and the whole world collapses. you couldn't -- >> of course, in that kind of a dynamic you have the list of things that you and the exchanges at that point should have given you a pretty good idea what the president and people are going to have heartburn over. of course, you have to push him -- the fact that he had to think about it showed that we made good judgments and put a lot in there that he had to gag on, that's how the dynamic works. that doesn't mean we wanted him
to veto it. you know what, we can put him in a position where we can get some things we got that we wouldn't have gotten in any other way. >> let me make a quick point and i think this is a crucial thing and hopeful to teach toyota staff and members today and that is you're going to have at least nine out of ten bills. you're going to have serious internal conflicts and the party that is really a good party can master those, can contain them and can hold their votes. i went through and i counted the votes in committees, subcommittees, on the floor, republicans were a machine even though there was a lot of hard feelings sometimes and we always retained our votes, that's how come we were able to pass bill. >> this is a good last question, also good segue to the next panel. jason said i could ask this one question, are you happy with the way governors have handled evolution under the bill?
i mean, chuck hobbs, i think, was right, one size doesn't fit all. one size would fit if we knew what the size was? [laughter] >> has any authority done enough to find out what it is? >> i would say i couldn't be more disappointed with governors. federal work requirement to the extent for the first five years under the act when the federal work requirements were pushing the governors forward, the case loads fell rapidly, employment increased, things were changing. by the time the governors met those standards, they basically they ten fell into stasis. today as we speak 55% of the tanif case load is sitting at home doing absolutely nothing. why is it 55%? because that's what the federal
standards that you can't go below that. it was because of federal requirements. the alternative -- the opposite picture of that was that on the question of marriage, all we got was that four -- three of the four major goals of the act were to increase marriage and reduce nonmarital childbearing. we have spent $600 billion on an act where three out of the four goals were to promote marriage and what did we get from the states? one measurably. i don't have good opinions about welfare bureaucracies but they came below my expectation. the final point that's important, people are always talking about if we spend enough on tanif. any state would do that but they would have to pay for it with
state money, not with federal money and what you find is after 20 years even the most liberal states have not done that. they've all kept their case loads low with the exception of oregon, all kept their case loads low because to do otherwise would force them to spend real money, federal money is not real money to them but their money is real and they're much more prudent in the way that they spend their money, that is a real federalist lesson, collecting money in washington and dumping it on the states is not federalism, making them spend their own money on welfare, they're not going to be conservative but much more frugal than if it's washington money. >> here is the problem, at the time the block grant was a good idea. it gave governors like tommy thompson and others a lot of control and they used it wisely. robert just said the first five years, i will two with that.
but then it turned out that the governors became mashed in politics. what a shock. they had a lot of pressure. they had to do something about child protection case, day care, scholarships for college and they're pulling in all different directions. we gave them flexibility. i will say that frankly. they had tons of flexibility. we are still in charge, why aren't the republicans doing something? the problem has been obvious for a long time. we could change tomorrow the statute that the governors can only spend tanf on cash welfare and work programs. that's it. nothing else. and i think that'll be a great improvement. i know robert would like to put marriage in there. >> take the first part out. cash welfare. [laughter] >> i don't think that's funny. we have to have -- a great nation has --
>> i think we have not had -- and when i went back into the senate and we did the reauthorization and did some things and i said at the time i was disappointed because we had a wave for about 10 years of governors who were willing to take risks, to challenge from different perspectives and we saw two of them today, they mentioned bill well, evan, keen did some of this. there were a lot of governors out there and you're just not hearing. i don't want to do a disservice, nobody is asking themselves. you know, if you really want to help folks in this situation, it's a question both of changing the incentive structure so that they do take more responsibility for their lives but also giving them the kind of outside assistance that enables them to do that and gives them hope they can do it. i used to say when we had
debate, what kind of pack should we want to help the poor, well, what would you do if it was your little sister? you make certain her needs were met. you would provide with encouragement but also say, there are things you're going to -- this is exactly how somebody treated somebody they cared about. the problem how do you recreate that through the processes of government. it's technically very difficult. you're not going to do that by changing incentives and letting people pull up by the bootstraps. you have find other ways and that requires a lot of effort and search across and innovative government. you can't -- we can do pilot programs up here and i've done that. you know, the pilots. the state are ongoing pilot program and really we do need more innovative governors to do more from both right of center and left of center and really to push and push their own groups who will tell them, oh, you