In a gesture to the right, Majority Leader Bob Dole is promising to get tough with welfare recipients who refuse to work as he pushes legislation to dismantle dozens of social programs and give states new responsibilities for the poor.
Dole, R-Kan., moved early to appease his conservative critics as he began a weeklong drive to get his sweeping plan to overhaul the nation's welfare system through a divided Senate.Conservatives argue that the legislation does not go far enough to curb rising rates of out-of-wedlock births, while Republican moderates and Democrats say the legislation fails to provide the child care necessary to help single mothers move from welfare to work.
"I say this is going to pass," Dole declared Monday, as he was rewriting his bill to require that the benefits of welfare recipients be cut when they refuse to work.
Dole's bill has the backing of 32 other Republicans and he is keeping the Senate in session in hopes of getting it passed. The House passed its version of welfare reform in March, and began its summer recess Friday.