Issue Brief posted August 21, 2016
Did Welfare Reform Increase Extreme Poverty in the United States?
Two decades ago, on August 22, 1996, President Bill Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, popularly known as welfare reform, into law. At the time, liberals proclaimed that the bill would slash the incomes of one in five families with children and push 2.6 million people into poverty. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously predicted…
Issue Brief posted May 26, 2016
Child Nutrition Reauthorization: Time for Serious Reform, Not Tinkering
Congress is currently working on reauthorizing the federal child nutrition programs, which include school meal programs. The last time Congress reauthorized these programs, it passed the controversial Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, a major priority for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act made a number of…
Issue Brief posted April 7, 2016
Strengthening the End Modern Slavery Initiative (EMSI)
A complex problem affecting an estimated 21 million people worldwide, human trafficking demands comprehensive solutions to achieve the long-term eradication of slavery. Sex trafficking, labor trafficking, bonded labor, debt bondage, peonage (the involuntary servitude of laborers), and the use of child soldiers—all forms of trafficking according to the U.S. Department of…
Issue Brief posted March 22, 2016
Religious Liberty at the Supreme Court: Little Sisters of the Poor Take on Obamacare Mandate
On March 23, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments from the Little Sisters of the Poor in their challenge to the Obamacare “contraception mandate,” which threatens the sisters with crushing government fines unless—in direct violation of their religious beliefs—they facilitate coverage of abortion-inducing drugs and devices, contraception, and sterilization in…
Issue Brief posted February 24, 2016
Setting Priorities for Welfare Reform
The United States’ means-tested welfare system consists of over 80 programs that provide cash, food, housing, medical care, and social services to poor and lower-income Americans. Total annual spending on these programs reached $1 trillion in 2015. More than 75 percent of this funding comes from the federal government.
The last substantial reform of welfare, enacted…
Testimony posted February 11, 2016
Reducing Hunger and Very Low Food Security
There are frequent claims of widespread hunger in the United States. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has defined hunger as “the uneasy or painful sensation caused by lack of food.” Hunger is a temporary sensation of discomfort; it is very different from and less severe than malnutrition.
The most widely accepted measure of hunger is the very…
Backgrounder posted February 8, 2016
Maine Food Stamp Work Requirement Cuts Non-Parent Caseload by 80 Percent
In 2015, the U.S. government spent over $1 trillion on means-tested welfare aid, providing cash, food, housing, medical care, and social services to poor and low-income individuals. The food stamp program is the nation’s second largest means-tested welfare program. The number of food stamp recipients has risen dramatically from about 17.2 million in 2000 to 45.8…
Backgrounder posted December 4, 2015
Important Policy Riders for the FY 2016 Appropriations Bills
The Constitution unequivocally grants Congress the exclusive power to appropriate funds for the “necessary and proper” operations of government. James Madison wrote in The Federalist No. 58 that providing budgetary powers to Congress was a critical element in maintaining individual rights: “The power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and…