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August 22, 2000: Highlighting the Success of Welfare to Work

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White House at Work

Tuesday, August 22, 2000

"In four short years, we have seen a new emphasis on work and responsibility, as welfare recipients themselves have risen to the challenge and made welfare what it was meant to be: a second chance, not a way of life."

President Bill Clinton
Tuesday, August 22, 2000

Today, President Clinton commemorated the fourth anniversary of the welfare reform law by releasing new data showing that welfare rolls are just half of what they were four years ago and, of those remaining on welfare, nearly five times as many are working than when the President took office. In addition, all states subject to the welfare reform law's overall work requirements met them for the third year in a row. The President met with the Welfare to Work Partnership, which announced that its business partners have hired an estimated 1.1 million welfare recipients since its launch in 1997. The President challenged the private sector to continue employing welfare recipients and help these new workers succeed on the job, urged state and local officials to support current recipients and low-income working families, and called on Congress to enact his budget proposals to make work pay, encourage savings, promote responsible fatherhood and expand access to child care, housing, transportation, and health care.


  • The percentage of Americans on welfare is at its lowest level since 1965 falling from 5.5% in 1993 to 2.3% in 1999;
  • The number of people on welfare has fallen from 14.1 million in January 1993 to 6.3 million in December 1999 a drop of 56%, or 7.8 million;
  • Nearly three-quarters of this overall decline has occurred since the welfare reform law was enacted; and
  • The percentage of welfare recipients who are working has increased from 7 percent in 1992 to an all-time high of 33 percent in 1999 and has tripled since the enactment of the 1996 welfare reform law.

ALL 50 STATES MET OVERALL WORK PARTICIPATION GOALS. New data included in a report the Administration transmitted to Congress today show that every state and the District of Columbia met the welfare law's overall work requirements for 1999, which required adults in 35 percent of all families on welfare to be working at least 25 hours per week.

BUSINESSES HAVE HIRED OVER ONE MILLION PEOPLE OFF WELFARE. Since its launch at the White House in May 1997 with 105 companies, the Welfare to Work Partnership has grown to more than 20,000 businesses which have hired an estimated 1.1 million people from the welfare rolls. And under Vice President Gore's leadership, the federal government has hired nearly 50,000 people from welfare to work in dozens of agencies across the country.

CHALLENGING CONGRESS TO DO MORE TO PROMOTE WORK AND RESPONSIBILITY. President Clinton called on Congress to enact key components of the Administration's FY 2001 budget, including:

  • Increasing the minimum wage by $1 and expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit to provide tax relief for 6.8 million hard-pressed working families;
  • Creating 20,000 new Individual Development Accounts to help low-income working families invest in their future and allow families to use these accounts to save for a car to help them get to work;
  • Promoting responsible fatherhood by allowing more child support income to go directly to families and helping low-income fathers and families support their children;
  • Making significant new investments in child care;
  • Improving transportation options for low-income working families;
  • Increasing access to housing vouchers to help families move closer to a job, reduce a long commute, or secure more stable housing that will help them get or keep a job; and
  • Dramatically expanding health coverage by providing a new, affordable health insurance option for parents of low-income children and extending existing programs to more families.

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August 2000

August 22, 2000: Highlighting the Success of Welfare to Work

August 10, 2000: Making College More Affordable and Accessible for America's Families

July 31, 2000: Highlighting the Need for Drug Coverage for Medicare Beneficiaries with Disabilities

July 27, 2000: Challenging Congress to Act on America's Priorities

July 26, 2000: Commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act