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42Inside the Presidency of Bill Clinton$
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Michael Nelson, Barbara A. Perry, and Russell L. Riley

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780801454066

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801454066.001.0001

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Clinton and Welfare Reform

Clinton and Welfare Reform

An Oral History

Chapter:
(p.152) 6 Clinton and Welfare Reform
Source:
42
Author(s):

Michael Nelson

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9780801454066.003.0006

This chapter draws on excerpts from the oral histories to construct a narrative account of welfare reform in the Clinton administration. This chapter draws on excerpts from the oral histories to construct a narrative account of welfare reform in the Clinton administration. A frequent assertion about the presidency of Bill Clinton is that he signed landmark welfare reform legislation—formally the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996—for short-term and crassly political reasons. The chapter argues that Clinton’s concern about welfare policy, far from being an artifact of his 1996 reelection campaign, had deep roots in his life and career. Although politics mixed with policy in his approach to the subject, Clinton’s most meaningful political considerations were long term, not immediate. Specifically, he wanted to restore the Democratic Party’s competitiveness in presidential elections by removing the long-damaging issue of welfare from the national political agenda.

Keywords:   oral histories, welfare reform, welfare policy, national political agenda, Clinton administration

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