THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
STATEMENT OF THE VICE PRESIDENT ON THE HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS
SUBCOMMITTEE WELFARE PROPOSAL
I am very concerned about how the proposed Republican amendments to the welfare law would affect disabled legal immigrants. The amendments are harsh, unfair, and unnecessary, and they violate the terms of the bipartisan balanced budget agreement by failing to restore a minimal safety net for these individuals.
The Republican proposal is unfair to families of limited means. In failing to restore benefits for SSI beneficiaries whose sponsors have incomes over 150 percent of the poverty level, it would cut off 100,000 severely disabled immigrants who would receive benefits under the budget agreement. A family of four with an income as low as $24,000 would have to fully support a person with a severe disability.
The Republican proposal also fails to protect SSI and Medicaid benefits for legal immigrants who were in the United States as of August 23, 1996 and later become disabled. As a result, it violates a key provision in the budget agreement that was designed to target assistance to the most vulnerable individuals.
The provisions affecting disabled legal immigrants were an important element of the budget agreement, and the Administration worked hard to secure them. We expect both sides to adhere to them.