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JULY 2, 2002
7:05 PM
CONTACT:  National Organization for Women
202-628-8669 Rebecca Farmer, x 116
Bush Still Clueless on Welfare Reform:
NOW Condemns Backward Family Values
WASHINGTON - July 2 - "George W. Bush spent the early part of this week on a 'family values tour,' touting his backward-looking proposals to marry-off poor women and pour federal money into religious programs," said National Organization for Women (NOW) President Kim Gandy. "All this lip service to 'family values' is little more than a transparent attempt to mold domestic policy to suit the likes of Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. These impoverished proposals skew public policy to the detriment of poor women, poor families and poor children across the country."

"Bush told supporters in Cleveland that 'we've got to teach people the values of marriage and family,'" Gandy said. "The people of this country expect more from their government than a married-or-invisible vision of women's place in society."

"The purpose of welfare is to help the poorest people move out of poverty and into self-sufficiency. To make 'finding a man' the Administration-approved ticket out of poverty is not just an insulting throwback, it's terrible public policy," Gandy said. "The $1 billion marriage promotion scheme touted by the Administration, passed by the House and currently pending in the Senate's welfare reform bill is thinly disguised social engineering."

"The Administration's my-way-or-the-highway approach to helping poor moms and kids won't help those who need help the most. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that the way to end the vicious cycle of poverty and punishment is to make sure that education, child care, health care, transportation and decent housing are available to all struggling families," Gandy said. "Instead, Bush's welfare proposals siphon off funds to pay for the Dick Cheney Dating Game while perversely mandating stiffer work requirements without the supports necessary to hold down a good job."

"It's time to get serious about welfare," Gandy said. "Poor women and their children need and deserve fair legislation that will yield results. Until we guarantee education and essential work supports not a single dime should be diverted from those critical needs."


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