Welfare Reform

December 20, 1967

Report Outline
Dissatisfaction with Welfare System
Grievances Against Public Assistance
Future Shape of Dependency Problem
Special Focus

Dissatisfaction with Welfare System

New Restrictions in Fedaral Welfare Laws

Controversy over welfare policy, stirred up by sharp differences on the proper way to handle what may be described as a welfare crisis, is likely to be intensified rather than stilled by the outcome of a bitter contest on the question between House and Senate. Major changes in federal welfare law—included in the conference agreement on the 1967 Amendments to the Social Security Act—were effected only by capitulation of the Senate to House demands. And the signs are that the matter will not be allowed to rest there.

The depth of the difference in outlook between the two houses, which reflected a comparable division in the population, was revealed when details of the conference report became known on Dec. 8. Six senators, including three members of the Finance Committee which had prepared the version of the measure originally approved by the Senate, assailed the conference compromise for its harsh and “regressive” provisions on public assistance to welfare recipients. Several of the protesting senators felt that the provisions were so damaging that the entire bill should be held over for reconsideration when Congress reconvened for its second session, Jan. 15, 1968.

Two provisions of the conference agreement raised particular objection: (1) the imposition of a ceiling on the number of children for whom the federal government would provide matching funds under the program for Aid to Families with Dependent Children, the limit being set at the percentage of children in each state on relief rolls on Jan. 1, 1968; and (2) a job training and employment requirement which critics said would virtually force the mothers of dependent children to take low-paying, menial jobs while leaving their young children under institutional care. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D N.Y.) called the welfare section of the bill “one of the most regressive pieces of legislation ever to emerge from a House-Senate conference, … a disgrace to all Americans, and an affront to … the poor.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Aug. 2010  Social Welfare in Europe
Aug. 03, 2001  Welfare Reform
Dec. 06, 1996  Welfare, Work and the States
Sep. 16, 1994  Welfare Experiments
Apr. 10, 1992  Welfare Reform
Oct. 10, 1986  Working on Welfare
Mar. 09, 1984  Social Welfare Under Reagan
Apr. 17, 1981  European Welfare States Under Attack
Dec. 09, 1977  Welfare in America and Europe
Nov. 21, 1975  Future of Welfare
Dec. 20, 1967  Welfare Reform
Jun. 08, 1966  Guaranteed Income Plan
Oct. 04, 1961  Public Welfare Policy
Mar. 09, 1954  Worker Welfare Funds
Jul. 20, 1950  Welfare State
May 07, 1947  Union Welfare Funds
Jan. 10, 1940  Expansion of the Food-Stamp Plan
Budget Process
Welfare and Welfare Reform