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E-mail From Washington

From: Charles Bierbauer/CNN
In: Washington
Posted: 5-9-97

Subject: Economic Advisers Explain Drop In Welfare Rolls

The number of welfare recipients in the U.S. declined by 20 percent during President Bill Clinton's first term, according to a report released Friday by the president's Council of Economic Advisers.

The report says the decline by 2.75 million from January 1993 to January 1997 is "the largest decline in over 50 years."

It cites three factors:

  • Economic expansion, which accounted for 44 percent reduction by producing 12 million new jobs.

  • Federal waivers, which allowed 43 states to "experiment with innovative ideas to help reduce welfare dependency" producing 31 percent of the reduction.

  • Expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which is credited with 25 percent of the reduction in welfare recipients.

Administration officials say it is "important to determine the causes of this decline in light of recently enacted welfare reform legislation."

"If federal policies played a significant role, then continued efforts along these lines are likely to lead to additional reductions," the report said.

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