WELFARE REFORM . . . DON'T BE CRUEL

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President Clinton warned a "summit" convened by the National Governors Conference thatturning welfare into block grantswould probably start a "race to the bottom" in which the money is diverted to other state priorities. "It's always cheaper to cut people off welfare than to move them to work," Clinton told the Baltimore assembly. The current Senate bill, which freezes spending at $16.8 billion for each of the next five years, he added, "gives states incentives to save money by simply throwing people off the welfare rolls." TIME correspondent Sam Allis says the Republican majority of governors stands firmly behind House Speaker Newt Gingrich. But, Allis says, several chief executives of states with growing populations, such as Texas governor George W. Bush (a Republican) and Florida governor Lawton Chiles (a Democrat), privately worry thatthe GOP plan will leave them without money for poor women and children.