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Old 07-18-2003, 07:08 AM   #1
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Bush Welfare Marriage Plan Headed for Approval

Bush marriage plan headed for approval

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By Laura Meckler

July 17, 2003 | WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush's proposal to nudge women on welfare toward the altar is headed for approval in Congress despite opposition from both the political left and right, as Democrats choose other battles to fight in the welfare debate.

From the start, the plan sparked outrage from libertarians who complain government has no place in people's intimate lives and from feminists who worry women will be coerced into bad matches. Both say scarce dollars should be spent elsewhere.

Despite the concerns, Republicans are largely in favor of the plan and Democrats are largely resigned to it.

The debate has been ongoing over the last year and a half as Congress works to renew its landmark 1996 welfare overhaul. The renewal gives lawmakers and the White House an opportunity to make changes in the program, and Bush has made promoting marriage one of the centerpieces of his plan.

The House has already passed its welfare legislation, which includes the marriage initiative. The Senate Finance Committee plans to consider the matter next week. An initial proposal from Chairman Charles Grassley included the marriage money, and he said Thursday that Democrats have not pushed him to remove it.

In a letter to Grassley last week, 41 Democrats laid out their priorities in the welfare debate, including more money for child care, reasonable work requirements and benefits for legal immigrants. They didn't mention the marriage initiative.

Under the Bush marriage proposal, the government would spend $300 million per year on programs promoting marriage. That includes $200 million in federal dollars, and $100 million states would have to spend in matching funds.

The administration is vague about what the money would go for, but says it would help couples that are already interested in marriage, perhaps through financial incentives or by offering counseling.

Supporters say children are better off when they are raised together by a mother and father, and poor families are better off with two wage earners.

"The fact of the matter is, marriage is a very important tool for economic survival," said Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa. "When you have two people in a family it makes it easier." Grassley said promoting marriage is "just a no-brainer."

Opponents say it's no such thing.

Michael Tanner of the libertarian Cato Institute says there's no evidence these programs will work and argues there are too few "marriageable men" out there anyway.

"It's not like there's a doctor or an accountant down the street waiting to marry an unwed teenage mother," Tanner said Thursday before a news conference with feminists and others to denounce the initiative.

Women's groups worry that women will wind up coerced into bad, possibly abusive relationships. "The government has no business being involved in personal issues like marriage," said Lisalyn Jacobs of the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund.

Democratic aides say some Democratic senators are sensitive to these concerns but have not made the issue a priority, focusing instead on trying to get more money for child care and other concerns. At the same time, some moderates are comfortable with the program, willing to experiment and see if pro-marriage programs work.

Sen. Max Baucus, the top Democrat on the Finance Committee, opposes the initiative along libertarian grounds, reflecting his Montana roots, but he's one of the few who has spoken out against it.

Last year, when Democrats ran the Senate, Baucus crafted a bill that included money for experiments promoting marriage but also allowed it to be used for teen pregnancy prevention and other programs, a change the Bush administration denounced.

Both Tanner and Jacobs acknowledge that there are few in Congress ready to take up their cause, fearful that opposing the marriage initiative will be seen as being anti-marriage.

"Who can be against marriage?" Tanner said. "Especially if you're going to face re-election in a year and a half, you don't want to be on the record against marriage."

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Shame on Bush and shame on Democrats for doing nothing. Are these the same people who are opposed to gay marriage? As it seems, they have certainly done a good job of making straight marriage a joke, so I certainly wouldn't trust their judgment regardless.

Here goes $300 million down the toilet!

Melon
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Old 07-18-2003, 06:55 PM   #2
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when i first heard about this a couple of months ago i was so pissed.


legislating "morality"
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Old 07-18-2003, 07:13 PM   #3
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As a woman, this is pretty insulting.
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Old 07-18-2003, 09:02 PM   #4
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This is insulting. And with a record deficit, I wonder how it can be justified.
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Old 07-18-2003, 10:37 PM   #5
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Re: Bush Welfare Marriage Plan Headed for Approval

Both Tanner and Jacobs acknowledge that there are few in Congress ready to take up their cause, fearful that opposing the marriage initiative will be seen as being anti-marriage.

"Who can be against marriage?" Tanner said. "Especially if you're going to face re-election in a year and a half, you don't want to be on the record against marriage."

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Shame on Bush and shame on Democrats for doing nothing. Are these the same people who are opposed to gay marriage? As it seems, they have certainly done a good job of making straight marriage a joke, so I certainly wouldn't trust their judgment regardless.

Here goes $300 million down the toilet!

******************
I can't believe they had the nerve to put this in print. F*** these spineless drones. You're right, there goes millions down the toilet, for yet another asinined reason to allot monies for "marriages". Please,, Just another reason to say, we're going to tax you so much it will take at least 2 people, (which it does now) and more overtime, working at good jobs, to survive in this economy or even exist. And no their judgement can't be trusted. The jury is still out on just who can be trusted.
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Old 07-19-2003, 05:28 AM   #6
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I can see why politicians are frightened of speaking out against it, but that isn't an excuse for their inactivity. Speaking out against this isn't speaking against marriage, it's speaking against women being coerced into marriage when it isn't in their best interest, it's speaking against wasting money which could better be spent on initiatives like childcare.

And as for this "children are better off with two parents" argument: what about children growing up with two parents where one of those parents is abusive to the other parent or even to the child. Nobody would argue that growing up in a home with both mother and father is bad for a child, but to imply that it's would be better for a child to live with both parents, regardless of how those parents behave towards their child is ridiculous.
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Old 07-19-2003, 12:28 PM   #7
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Maybe I don't know the whole story behind this bill, but from just redaing this article, I honestly can't see what ya'll are so upset about. They're not gonna be "forcing mrriage" on anyone. Didn't anyone read the following?

"it would help couples that are already interested in marriage, perhaps through financial incentives or by offering counseling."
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Old 07-19-2003, 01:45 PM   #8
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80s,

And right before that it states that the administration are "vague" about where the money would go to. Besides, if you say to a person living in poverty that they can have X-hundred dollars if they'll marry the father of their child, do you not think it could be an incentive for them to marry that person even if they know the relationship will not be a healthy one?

Besides, how will the administration define a couple who are interested in marriage? Couples who consult with a religious leader about marraige? Couples who seek counselling about their relationship? Or simply any two people on a low income who have had a child together?

*Fizz.
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Old 07-19-2003, 08:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by FizzingWhizzbees
I can see why politicians are frightened of speaking out against it, but that isn't an excuse for their inactivity. Speaking out against this isn't speaking against marriage, it's speaking against women being coerced into marriage when it isn't in their best interest, it's speaking against wasting money which could better be spent on initiatives like childcare.
Exactly.

Quote:
Originally posted by FizzingWhizzbees
And as for this "children are better off with two parents" argument: what about children growing up with two parents where one of those parents is abusive to the other parent or even to the child. Nobody would argue that growing up in a home with both mother and father is bad for a child, but to imply that it's would be better for a child to live with both parents, regardless of how those parents behave towards their child is ridiculous.
Really.

Besides, some kids handle living with just one parent, some don't. It all depends on the child-we can't just assume that all kids are happy with both parents or that all kids are happy with just one parent-it just depends on the family situation and things like that.

And ditto your other post, Fizz.

Angela
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Old 07-20-2003, 09:42 AM   #10
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Its a bad plan, but I don't think I make the social conservatives an injustice in saying that its something they 'would' offer. Hence, its not really the Republicans who are at fault here; its the silent, seemingly emasculated Democrats.

Their silence is both disturbing and immensely disappointing.

Ant.
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