Welfare reform legislation now being debated in the Senate is unacceptable to President Clinton in its current form, the White House said Saturday.
Clinton, who took office promising radical reform of the welfare system, has vetoed two previous GOP bills, saying they were too harsh on the poor or were attached to other unacceptable legislation.
He has been more positive about the current legislation, but White House spokesman Mike McCurry said late Saturday afternoon, “The welfare bill as it stands is unacceptable.”
The Senate rejected a measure Friday that would have changed the GOP welfare plan to allow children to continue receiving some federal help after their parents are cut off after five years on welfare.
Fifty-one senators voted for the measure - introduced by Sen. John Breaux, D-La. - but that was nine short of the 60 needed to pass an amendment that exceeds pre-set spending limits.
The vote came on the second day of debate on a Republican overhaul plan that would replace the nation’s various welfare programs with a single block grant, giving states more say over how the money is spent. The Senate expects to finish its bill this week.
The House voted 256-170 to approve its plan Thursday.
Republicans want to end the federal guarantee of aid to the poor, which has been in place for six decades. Under the plans, welfare recipients would be required to find jobs within 24 months of joining the program, and most participants would be cut off after time limits are reached.
States would have the option of denying federal money to mothers who have more children while on welfare. Republicans said their plans would free the needy from a cycle of dependence and restore their dignity.