Political Aptitude Test

July 17, 1996


See The Answer


Welfare Reform Could Be Sticky Issue In Chicago

By Bill Schneider/CNN

WASHINGTON (July 19) -- A small miracle is taking place this year in American politics.

The Democratic Party is more united than it's been at any time since the 1930s, while the abortion issue threatens to tear the Republicans apart next month.

Our question is, which issue is most likely to divide the Democrats in Chicago. Is it...?

A) Affirmative action
B ) Same-sex marriage
C) Welfare reform
D) Bosnia
E) Abortion

And the answer is...C) Welfare reform. Welfare reform does something no Democrat has ever proposed before. It ends a major federal entitlement program, one that dates from the New Deal.

With welfare reform, recipients would no longer have a right to government benefits. Instead, those benefits would become a political decision. State governments would decide who is eligible and how much money they get on a year-to-year basis. If it passes unnoticed at the Democratic National Convention, or if delegates applaud President Bill Clinton for his stand on welfare reform, that will be evidence that the Democratic party has truly been transformed.

But the Clinton Administration is itself divided over welfare reform. Some of the president's advisors favor it and insist he has to sign a welfare bill before this year's election to keep his promise, made in 1992, to end welfare as we know it. Others in the administration have done their best to sabotage welfare reform.

The prevailing view right now is that the president has to sign something, almost anything Congress passes, before the election.

This story originally appeared on CNN's "Inside Politics Extra."

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