The 20th Anniversary of Welfare Reform

22 Aug


22 Aug 3:00 pm - 01 Jan 5:30 pm


United States Capitol, HC-5

East Capitol St NE & First St SE, Washington

The 20th Anniversary of Welfare Reform:

Learning from the past to guide the future

Cosponsored with the Progressive Policy Institute, the Secretaries’ Innovation Group,

the University of Maryland, and the American Enterprise Institute

Monday, August 22, 2016

3:00–5:30 PM

HC-5, US Capitol Building
Washington, DC 20004

Twenty years ago this month, President Bill Clinton signed a bill fulfilling his pledge to “end welfare as we know it.” Forged in tough negotiations with Republican Congressional leaders, the welfare reform bill was the most dramatic change in U.S. social policy in decades.

Please join the Progressive Policy Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, the Secretaries’ Innovation Group and the University of Maryland for a look back at this landmark achievement with key figures that drove its enactment. We’ll also discuss lessons learned over the past two decades and prospects for further refinements and reform.

The 1996 bill replaced the old welfare entitlement with a performance-based block grant called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The new program created a strong expectation of work, encouraged the states to use federal funds flexibly to support peoples’ efforts to work, and imposed time limits on cash assistance.

The initial results were astonishing: By 2001, employment among never-married mothers had jumped 15 percentage points, welfare caseloads had dropped by almost half, and poverty among African Americans was reduced to its lowest level in history.  Nonetheless, the reform was and remains unpopular with critics who say it has left some poor families worse off.

Sweeping changes in entitlement programs are difficult to achieve. What were the special conditions that catalyzed this pivotal reform? What have we learned about its performance 20 years, one re-authorization and two recessions later? What are the chief social policy challenges today? We’ll explore these questions with people “present at the creation” of welfare reform.

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Registration is required, RSVP by August 19 at 4:00 PM ET

Full agenda


Eloise Anderson, Department of Children and Families, State of Wisconsin
Former secretary, Department of Social Services, State of California
Will Marshall, Progressive Policy Institute
Douglas Besharov, University of Maryland
Robert Doar,
Former commissioner of social services, New York City and State of New York
John Engler, former governor, State of Michigan
Ron Haskins, Brookings Institution
Former staff director, Subcommittee on Human Resources, House Committee on Ways and Means
Doug Howard, MAXIMUS
Former administrator, Iowa Department of Human Services

Lawrence Mead, New York University
Author of “Beyond Entitlement”

Gerald Miller, former director of social services, State of Michigan
Kate O’Beirne, Conservative Reform Network
Former vice president, Government Relations, Heritage Foundation
Wendell Primus, Office of the House Minority Leader
Former deputy assistant secretary for human services policy, US Department of Health and Human Services
Robert Rector, Heritage Foundation
Bruce Reed, former chief domestic policy adviser to President Clinton
Howard Rolston, Abt Associates
Former director of planning, research, and evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, US Department of Health and Human Services
Rick Santorum, (invited) former US senator and member, US House of Representatives (R-PA)
Jim Talent, AEI; former US senator and member, US House of Representatives (R-MO)
Tommy Thompson, former governor, State of Wisconsin
Jason Turner, Secretaries’ Innovation Group
Former administrator, Department of Health and Social Services, State of Wisconsin
Matt Weidinger, House Committee on Ways and Means

Online registration is not available for this event.