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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release June 19, 1997

Notes that 75,000 Fewer People Would Get Benefits in 2002 than in Budget

WASHINGTON -- Vice President Gore today (6/19) warned against the House Republican proposal affecting disabled legal immigrants, warning that 75,000 fewer people would get Supplemental Security Income as compared to the bipartisan budget agreement.

The bipartisan budget agreement restored SSI and Medicaid benefits to any immigrant in the country as of August 23, 1996 who is or becomes disabled. The House Ways and Means Committee proposal ignores vulnerable immigrants who become disabled after August 23, 1996. About 75,000 fewer immigrants would receive benefits by 2002, and 125,000 fewer by 2007.

"The Republican plan singles out immigrants who are in this country legally for harsh and unfair treatment and it breaks faith with the bipartisan balanced budget agreement," the Vice President said at a White House ceremony.

"It fails to restore a safety net for disabled legal immigrants by abandoning the people who were in the United States when the welfare bill was signed, but who unexpectedly fell ill or became disabled after that date."

When Congress enacted last year's welfare law, they included provisions affecting legal immigrants that were not only harsh and unnecessary, but had nothing to do with the real goal of welfare reform -- moving people from welfare to work. Since then, the President and Vice President have worked hard to restore benefits to legal immigrants.

National groups representing the elderly and people with disabilities are united in their opposition to this proposal. They recognize that the budget agreement would protect more disabled elderly and non-elderly people than the House Ways and Means proposal.