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Marriage “Incentives” Threaten Welfare Policy

The Bush Administration is considering mandatory programs to promote marriage among the poor as a way to reduce single parent families and “improve” the welfare system in the United States – programs feminists have long opposed. Today, a House Ways and Means subcommittee with jurisdiction over the renewal of welfare funds will hold a hearing on marriage incentives as the Bush Administration considers expanding such programs, which could earmark millions of dollars for marriage education and even “reward” single mothers with cash bonuses for marrying the child’s father. Such programs ignore alarming statistics on domestic violence, and could force women into legal relationships with their abusers under a government mandate.

Bush’s nominee for assistant secretary for family support at Department of Health and Human Services Wade Horn supports these “incentives” to marriage. The NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund notes that Horn argue for the denial of access for single parent families to important public benefits like Head Start and TANF. Horn argues that these limited public benefits should go to married, heterosexual, two-parent households first, leaving the “leftovers,” if any, to single parent and non-married two-parent households.

For more on Wade Horn, see the Feminist Daily News, April 30, 2001

Sources:

Boston Globe - May 22, 2001 and NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund Senior Staff Attorney Memo Ð April 20, 2001 and Feminist Majority Foundation