What: All Issues : Aid to Less Advantaged People, at Home & Abroad : Less Affluent Women : HR 4737. Reauthorizing Welfare/Vote to Override House Rules to Allow Consideration of a Bill Designed to Further Restrict the Abilities of Poor or Jobless Individuals from Receiving Welfare Benefits. (2002 house Roll Call 164)
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HR 4737. Reauthorizing Welfare/Vote to Override House Rules to Allow Consideration of a Bill Designed to Further Restrict the Abilities of Poor or Jobless Individuals from Receiving Welfare Benefits.
house Roll Call 164     May 15, 2002
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Loss

Congress had passed major welfare reform in 1996 that changed the program from an entitlement to a program of temporary assistance. By 2002, the program needed to be reauthorized, and Republicans planned to use the opportunity to tighten the program's restrictions. Their welfare bill raised the work requirement for recipients from 30 to 40 hours per week, and it required states to get 70 percent of their recipients into a job, up from 50 percent in the 1996 bill. Progressives felt the existing 1996 changes were draconian enough, and opposed attaching any more strings to the money. As a result, they voted "no" on a special procedural vote that permitted the bill to be considered. In the House, important bills come with instructions on the conduct of debate-called simply the "rule"-that must be voted on separately before debate on the bill can begin. Progressives opposed the rule for the welfare bill because they opposed the bill itself. Complicating matters was the fact that the rule for the welfare bill was written and proposed on the same day, which according to House procedures meant it needed to pass by a two-thirds vote instead of a simple majority. House Republicans had to pass another rule to waive this requirement. Because Progressives opposed the welfare bill and its rule, they also opposed this secondary rule that waived the two-thirds requirement and so made it easier to pass the welfare bill itself. However, this secondary rule was adopted on an almost perfect party-line vote, 219-200.

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