[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E1604-E1605]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                            WELFARE TO WORK


                           HON. STEVE LARGENT

                              of oklahoma

                    in the house of representatives

                        Thursday, July 31, 1997

  Mr. LARGENT. Mr. Speaker, last year Congress passed historic welfare 
reform legislation, establishing a program which combines social 
responsibility with economic opportunity. By setting work requirements 
and offering incentives to employers hiring workers from the welfare 
rolls, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996, 
provides the help needed to lift individuals out of poverty and off the 
welfare rolls.
  While the average stay on welfare is only 2 years, the typical 
recipient at any one time has been receiving benefits for 8 years. The 
Welfare Reform Act, by setting a 5-year maximum time limit for 
receiving welfare payments, will end long-term abuse of the welfare 

[[Page E1605]]

transforming aid to families with dependent children [AFDC] into a 
truly transitional welfare to work program. The act enables welfare 
recipients to gain the job skills and experience necessary to compete 
in the work force.
  By passing the welfare program as a block grant, Congress has given 
Oklahoma the flexibility to tailor our programs to the needs of 
Oklahomans. States must meet strict work requirements, ensuring that an 
increasing percentage of beneficiaries leave the welfare rolls each 
year, or face a reduction in Federal funding. At the same time, a 
safety net is provided for States during periods of economic hardship, 
allowing exemptions for bulging caseloads and a 20-percent hardship 
exemption for extreme cases.
  I am sad to see that the current budget bill reverses many of the 
reforms made in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act. I 
hope to work with my colleagues in the future to restore the original 
intent of the welfare reforms passed last year.