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The House Republican majority junked a proposed compromise Tuesday to overhaul the welfare system, a move that angered and puzzled Senate leaders of both parties. The rejection leaves in doubt prospects for passage of any welfare reform legislation this year as the 1995 Legislature meanders toward an end to the 30-day special session amid signs there will be yet another to settle budget differences.
Some Republican governors are working with GOP members of the Senate to go beyond a House-passed bill and include food stamps in the block grants for turning federal welfare efforts over to the states. The welfare reform bill passed by the House last month preserved the $27 billion food stamp program as the federal government's ultimate safety net while turning over to state governments dozens of other social programs.
The House passed a welfare bill Friday that the Congressional Budget Office says will wipe out all or part of the benefits for as many as 12.8 million families. The plan ends the country's longstanding guarantee of benefits to anyone in need, denies aid to most legal immigrants, sets up work requirements for those getting help and allows states to design their own welfare programs.
The House of Representatives on Tuesday took up sweeping legislation that would dismantle many elements of the social welfare systems put in place by the federal government over the past 60 years. There was little suspense about the outcome; Republicans predicted that the bill would be approved late this week on a party-line vote.
Republican leaders in Congress abandoned the most controversial elements of a House welfare proposal Friday and agreed to allow the states to take the lead in reforming the widely criticized welfare system. In a closed-door meeting with 15 GOP governors, the Republican leaders agreed to rewrite the welfare bill, part of their "Contract with America," so that states would have flexibility to run their own programs, according to meeting participants.