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Green tells Republicans Welfare Reform Bill Fails Hispanics

Congressman Gene Green last week called on the Republican Leadership in the House to provide real support for Latinos and all Americans, instead of denying poor people the opportunity to get an education, to get a better job, and to get their family out of poverty.

“Today, the Republican Leadership – the party that wants to be known as the ‘education party’, and the party that has gone to great lengths to win Hispanic votes – has proposed a welfare reform bill that proves their rhetoric doesn’t match their reality,” said Green.

The Republican bill restricts state discretion to provide education and training to welfare recipients; removes vocational education from the current list of work-related activities that count toward a state’s participation rate; only allows vocational education to count toward work participation for up to 4 months (for a recipient’s first 24 hours per week); and fails to include study toward GED or English literacy as part of the work requirements.

The Democratic Substitute counts vocational education and post-secondary education for 24 months against the work participation requirement; counts course of study leading to English literacy or GED (if needed for employment) for 24 months toward work requirement; and counts rehabilitative services designed to promote employment, including substance abuse treatment, for 6 months as a work activity.

“Instead of providing an equal opportunity for immigrants who are here legally, have worked hard, paid taxes, and fueled the economic boom of the past decade, Republicans refuse to give them the helping hand they need to get back on their feet,” Green added.

“The current recession hasn’t bypassed immigrants, but the Republican welfare plan does.”

The Republican bill continues to discriminate against legal immigrants and maintains the current ban on states providing assistance to immigrant families with federal funds.

The Democratic bill removes the ban on states serving legal immigrants with federal TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) funds and removes the ban on states serving legal immigrant pregnant women and children under Medicaid.

“It’s ironic that less than a week before Republicans plan to pour millions of dollars into new Spanish-language infomercials to woo Hispanic voters, they refuse to invest any money in helping poor Hispanic families get the education and training they need to lift themselves out of poverty,” said Green. “They refuse to invest the money needed to provide child care to those families who are making every effort to work, but still cannot afford the cost of child care.

“Today we see the true meaning of ‘compassionate conservatism’ and there’s really nothing compassionate about it,” concluded Green.