Lawmakers in Olympia and Washington, D.C., are crafting ways to cut public assistance.
Many want to trim bureaucracies and simply pass federal welfare money on to the states to use as they see fit. Congress is debating ways to slash federal aid to the poor by as much as 30 percent.
The state Legislature wrestled with its own drastic welfare reforms this session before tabling them for next year.
Here are some of the proposals:
Some reforms call for dropping people from welfare after two to five years of assistance.
Others would cut back the additional money that welfare parents receive for each newborn child.
Many lawmakers also advocate new welfare-to-jobs programs.
Some U.S. senators want to spark community responsibility for the poor.
U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley, D-N.J., proposes legislation that encourages people to contribute to the local charity or non-profit organization of their choice.
In exchange for donations, people could receive dollar-for dollar tax deductions.
State and federal lawmakers want to police so-called “deadbeat” parents more efficiently.
Stiff enforcement of child support payments is seen as a way to pry many families off welfare.
If the toughest measures are passed, failure to pay child support could cost people their driver’s or professional licenses.
Food stamps help feed 27 million Americans at a growing annual cost of $24.5 billion.
Republicans in Congress advocate slowing the growth and saving $30 billion over the next five years.