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Posted 03 Jun 2001   For week ended May 25, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 31May01

By Deborah Carl

LDS Representative Herger Supporting Measure to Promote Marriage

WASHINGTON, DC -- The number of single-parent families on welfare continues to grow in spite of welfare reform. The 1996 welfare law called for promoting marriage and reducing illegitimate births, but little has been done. Now the Bush administration and members of Congress, including California Representative Wally Herger, an LDS Church member, are considering mandatory programs to promote marriage among the poor.

Social conservatives are expected to earmark millions of dollars for marriage education and for cash bonuses to single mothers who marry the child's father. They also will require states to end some income tests that discourage parents from getting married.

"If we are serious about restoring marriage, public policy will have to do more than simply strive toward marriage neutrality, by removing financial disincentives for marriage," Wade Horn, President Bush's nominee for assistant secretary of family support at the Department of Health and Human Services, wrote in a recent article. "It needs to show that it values marriage by rewarding those who choose it."

Representative Wally Herger, the California Republican who chairs a House Ways and Means subcommittee with jurisdiction over renewing welfare funds, is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a father of eight. He said in a statement that before Congress extends the $16.5 billion Temporary Assistance for Needy Families bloc grant, he wants to consider "additional approaches, or programmatic changes, that may hold promise in better promoting marriage and family formation and discouraging illegitimacy."

While most agree that two-parent households help lift children out of poverty, many fear the marriage incentives will take needed funds from single-family households. "Wade Horn wants the government to discriminate against families that don't meet his ideal," said Tim Casey, a lawyer for the NOW fund. "In benefit programs where there is not enough for everybody, single-parent families would go to the back of the line." Others oppose having the government involved in marriage which they consider a challenging and personal commitment.


Marriage incentives for poor considered
Boston Globe 22May01 T2
By Mary Leonard: Globe Staff


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