Clinton Addresses Welfare Reform

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KANSAS CITY, Missouri: President Clinton told a gathering of Southern governors Tuesday that now that he signed the welfare bill they sought, it was the states' responsibility to move people from welfare to work. "You asked for this, and now you got it," Clinton said. "There is not enough money around to create enough public jobs to solve this welfare problem." The President said that means states need to use federal block grants to supplement wages paid by private employers, making it easier for companies to hire welfare recipients. "We need to break this responsibility down to think about how we can make it a good deal for the business community so we don't wind up with a bunch of nightmares saying, 'We passed all these tough laws and now here are all these people in the street with no right to get any help.'" Clinton urged states to follow a Kansas City program that converts public assistance money into paying jobs. Under the program, a public-private partnership called the Local Investment Commission funnels federal welfare and food stamp money to an agency that uses the money to give employers wage supplements of $500 a month for each former welfare recipient they hire. The new employee continues to receive health-care and day-care benefits for four years. Clinton, who angered liberal Democrats by signing the bill, is trying to ease their fears by explaining how states can move people from welfare to work. Janice Castro