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  • Bill Clinton wanted to be seen as a centrist president, and one way he tried to do this is enacting the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act.
  • A common critique of America's welfare system is that they were so generous at the time that it encouraged dependency.
  • The PRWORA of 1996gave states fixed funding for welfare, required recipients to find work within two years, and put a lifetime maximum on welfare of five years for recipients.
  • It was not passed easily, two previous forms of welfare reform were vetoed and it took negotiation with Newt Gingrich to get Clinton to sign PRWORA.
  • Because the goal was to make people less reliant on welfare, the effects were gradual. At one point, 60% of single mother families were receiving welfare in this program.
  • That percentage is now down to 24% today.
  • Today the PRWORA is still maintained, though there is need for more reform in that area as its success has stagnated. Unfortunately, Congress lacks a will to compromise in this area.
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