News Release

Welfare Policy

Congressional hearings are being held today on President Bush’s nomination of Wade Horn, the founder of the Fatherhood Initiative, to become Assistant Secretary for Family Support at the Department of Health and Human Services. On Friday, the National Council of Women’s Organizations will hold a briefing on “welfare reform” reauthorization. The following analysts are available for interviews:

JACQUELINE PAYNE
Policy attorney with the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, Payne said today: “Horn advocates denying single-parent families access to important public benefits whose supply is limited — such as Head Start, subsidized housing, school loans and grants, and job training — unless there are leftovers after all two-parent families have been served…. Horn advocates denying welfare benefits to two-parent families if the parents are not married…. He asserts that women are almost as likely as men to commit domestic violence.”
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GWENDOLYN MINK
Professor of politics at the University of California at Santa Cruz and author of Welfare’s End, Mink, who will speak at the Friday briefing, said today: “Poor mothers are being forced into low wage and contingent jobs in a labor market that is hugely stratified by a racialized gender wage gap…. Despite this, conservatives like Wade Horn insist that poor mothers are poor because they are not married — and that the ‘next step’ in welfare reform therefore must be to promote marriage and fatherhood. Most of the fatherhood/marriage initiatives that are floating around discriminate against mothers, offering employment and training to non-custodial fathers so that they can be better ‘breadwinners’…. Horn reflects the heavy-handed, Big Brother conservatism of the Bush administration…. The idea is not only that fathers should get all sorts of rights and ‘carrots’ while mothers get all sorts of discipline and ‘sticks’; it also is that single mothers must forfeit the rights to make intimate decisions that the rest of us hold dear because they are poor and unmarried. As Assistant Secretary of HHS, Wade Horn would play a critical role in the reauthorization of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. His confirmation would be a blow to poor mothers’ rights under TANF and to poor mothers’ equal citizenship.”
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GARY DELGADO
Delgado is director of the Applied Research Center, which recently released a report titled “Cruel and Usual: How Welfare ‘Reform’ Punishes Poor People.” Among the report’s findings: “Welfare reform has more than halved the welfare rolls, but it has done little to lift people out of poverty…. Devolution, the new version of ‘states’ rights,’ has greatly exacerbated the arbitrariness of the welfare system…. There is tremendous variation from state to state in the way people are treated when they seek assistance, and the kind of assistance, if any, they receive.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167