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NPR Health

Reconsidering the Welfare Reform Law

Major provisions of the 1996 welfare reform law expired in September 2002, but Congress repeatedly postponed reauthorization. Instead, legislators extended individual programs. The Capitol Hill consensus is that the act has succeeded in reducing welfare rolls by 60 percent. But a key component intended to give states more control over welfare policy is said to be ineffective. NPR's Tavis Smiley speaks with Deborah Cutler Ortiz of The Children's Defense Fund, and with June O'Neill, the former director of the Congressional Budget Office, who has authored numerous studies on the impact of welfare reform.

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