Bill Clinton: Radio Address on the Welfare Reform Act

(1996)

Bill Clinton’s Radio Address on the Welfare Reform Act aired on December 7, 1996, following his November reelection to the U.S. presidency. In it, he discussed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, which he had signed on August 22, 1996. Clinton's welfare reform radio address underscores the shift of the Democratic Party away from its traditional stance on social policy toward a more conservative approach.

In 1992 Clinton campaigned for president under the promise to “end welfare as we know it.” Welfare, Franklin D. Roosevelt's depression-era assistance program to the needy, had grown into Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), which included food stamps, Medicare, and direct assistance to a clientele that increasingly consisted of divorced and unwed mothers. By the 1990s most Americans believed that the welfare system was broken, rife with abuse and fraud. Welfare reform, stalled for a number of political reasons, resurfaced as a key...

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Bill Clinton (Library of Congress)

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