THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
I want to applaud Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives for approving an amendment this afternoon to require states to deny drivers' and professional licenses to deadbeat parents who refuse to pay child support. This tough provision was a central part of the welfare reform plan my Administration introduced last year, and sends a clear signal: No parent in America has a right to walk away from the responsibility to raise their children.
I congratulate the sponsor of the amendment, Rep. Marge Roukema (R-NJ), as well as Rep. Barbara Kennelly (D-CT) and other members who have worked across party lines to make tough child support enforcement a central part of welfare reform. With this amendment, the House welfare reform legislation now includes every major child support pillar of our welfare reform plan, which offered the toughest possible child support enforcement measures ever put forward.
These actions on child support enforcement prove that welfare reform can and must be a bipartisan issue. Unfortunately, the House Republican bill still does not offer the kind of real welfare reform that Americans in both parties expect. Welfare reform must be tough on work and tough on deadbeat parents, not tough on children.
I look forward to working with Republicans and Democrats in both houses of Congress to enact real reform that makes work and responsibility a way of life.