President Bush is seeking to reform the government's relation with the nation's poor with the creation of a policy that would give state's new power over social services. The policy would reduce funding for certain programs, including Medicaid and Head Start, and would require more verification of the poor in order to attain public assistance.
The new $2.23 trillion budget plan was presented to Congress last week and included proposals for looser federal standards over the nation's poor. The budget plan called for cuts in some programs that benefit the poor, including a reduction by as much as 25 percent in money devoted to "community services."
At the same time, Bush is calling for a tax cut of about $1.5 trillion dollars, which would mainly benefit the nation's wealthy and possibly hold back programs for the poor. The government argues that while a tax cut would not directly help the poor, a cut would ultimately urge faster and greater economic growth, resulting in more employment opportunities and higher wages.
According to the Washington Post, the government has paid little attention to the nation's poor in drafting the budget plan and instead concentrated on battling terrorism and (re-boosting) the economy.
Washington emphasizes that with the new plan, states will have the choice of whether or not they would participate and gain authority over programs for the poor in their state. While the new plan is changing certain rules for Head Start and Medicaid, it is holding steady with other federal regulations, including the number of hours parents on welfare are required to work.
Democrats are seeking to prevent several changes, including those involving Medicaid and Head Start. Congress still needs to approve the recommendations.
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