Public Law 104-193
Personal Responsibility Work Opportunity Act of 1996
Also known as the “Welfare Reform Law” or the “Welfare Reform Reconciliation Act”, the Personal Responsibility Work Opportunity Act of 1996 was the first comprehensive reform of a Federal entitlement enacted by Congress, turning it from an open ended individual entitlement to a set amount of funding for each state (“block grants”) The “Aid to Families with Dependent Children” (AFDC) program was abolished and replaced by the “Temporary Assistance to Needy Families” (TANF) program.
As a reconciliation bill, it was subject to expedited consideration and protection from the supermajority (three-fifths majority vote in the Senate) requirements, but budget rules mandated every provision in the bill when considered have a budgetary effect. Since the program in question is generally about funding mechanisms this was not a problem for most of the bill when it was considered. In certain places, it did cause debate, in particular about what role religious institutions might play in a new block grant programs. This issues has many policy implications rather than budgetary ones, and hence caused debate as to what kinds of provisions could be included relative to some components.
Public Law: Pub. L. 104-193
Stat. At Large: 110 Stat. 2105
Enacted: August 22, 1996
Bill Number: H.R. 3734 (104th Congress)
Sponsor: Rep. John R. Kasich (R-OH)
Note: This bill, in somewhat similar form, had been included in other bills vetoed by President Bill Clinton, but this was narrowed down to specifically apply to programs that could be defined as “welfare” spending. In one legislation incarnation, it was coupled with a similar approach to the Medicaid program, which applies to health insurance services to those with lower incomes. This was split in half with only the “welfare” bill becoming law.
[BCR § 249]