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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 21, 1995


I am disappointed that Republicans are trying to use the words "welfare reform" as cover to advance a budget plan that is at odds with America's values. Americans know that welfare reform is not about playing budget politics -- it is about moving people from welfare to work.

I am determined to work with Congress to achieve real, bipartisan welfare reform. But if Congress sends me this conference report, I will veto it and insist that they try again. This welfare bill includes deep cuts that are tough on children and at odds with my central goal of moving people from welfare to work. The Republican budget cuts in Medicaid and the Earned Income Tax Credit would undermine real reform and penalize people who choose work over welfare.

At a time when we are trying to engage in serious negotiations toward a balanced budget that is consistent with our priorities -- one of which is to "reform welfare," as last month's agreement between Republicans and Democrats made clear -- this is a sign of bad faith by the Republican leadership, and an affront to those in both parties who genuinely want to enact real reform. My Administration remains ready at any moment to sit down in good faith with Democrats and Republicans in Congress to work out a real welfare reform plan.