DELEGATE FORUM -- DAY 2
August 27, 1996
The delegates responded to these other questions:
A question from Amy Christensen ofMadison, WI
Clinton's signing of the Welfare Reform bill
I am curious if any of the delegates who are unhappy aboutthe signing of the welfare bill are indeed allowing that toshow to the media, and if they're going to allow that to affect their vote...
The delegates respond:
John K. Bailey, Charleston, West Virginia
I am sure that many delegates would like to have seen a different welfare bill signed than the one the President signed last week. I am equally certain that any delegate who wants to, can tell the media whatever he or she wants. For example, there aren't any censors looming over my desk as I type this message. We can, of course, say what we want. Personally, I think that the bill has its problems, but people must remember that this bill, like any other in the last two years, had to get past a Republican controlled Congress to make it to the President's desk. I hope that we will take back the Congress this November, and then have the opportunity to craft a more humane bill.
The bill is only part of the President's program of opportunity, responsibility, and community, aimed at improving life for many Americans. Yes, the welfare bill may hurt some people, but the raise in the minimum wage will help many, many more. Also, if the welfare reforms can help to break the cycle of poverty, family strife, domestic violence, and eventual criminal behavior, these reforms will assist not only the people on welfare, but eventually all of us.
Randy Horiuchi, Salt Lake City, Utah
Democrats will usually vote their conscience even if political leaders tell them otherwise. Democrats are known for that kind of independence. But because of the importance of showing unity within the party and the importance of this election, I am certain that if a delegate feels uncomfortable about the welfare reform bill, they will think twice about going nuts in a public fashion about their feelings.
Greg Martin, Keene, N.H.
Some of the delegates are unhappy, but the President has made it clear that he will work very hard to try to improve different sections of the bill that he's concerned with, including increasing the money available for child care and including immigrants who are in our country legally. Most of us believe that we should not be mad at the President; instead we should work hard to change the composition of the Congress so that we have a Democratic majority again.
Onita Hamblin, Kansas City, Kansas
I both agreed and disagreed with the welfare bill, but that would not stop me from voting for President Clinton. I don't think that will stop him from getting his votes from the Democrats. And even though he signed the bill, he's indicated he will make some changes if it doesn't work.
Jacquelyn Saylor, Atlanta GA
I'm not going to allow the welfare bill to affect my vote. I feel it is a good beginning, but I believe that some aspects of the bill are off. I don't think that the state should be responsible for welfare because there is some question as to whether the right people will receive aid. What happens to the children of the mothers who are forced to return to work and what happens to the children of the mothers who do not make enough money to support them? Despite these problems with the recent legislation, I feel the Democrats are trying harder to find a plan that will work.
Penfield Tate, Denver, CO
It has and will show with the media to an extent. I personally disagree with the President on the welfare bill. However, I have no doubt about my desire or ability to support his candidacy. More importantly, during the course of the week we have participated in policy forums where we have had the opportunity to express our disappointment with the welfare bill. The fact remains that this party will more justly deal with the changes to come than the Republican Party. Finally, rather than pass a platform and then have everyone disavow it, Democrats have embraced the platform, candidates are accepting it and we will move forward.
Treva Tumbleson, Ashland, Oregon
I 've already been asked about the Welfare Bill by several media people. The short answer is: sure, there are many delegates who are unhappy with the bill. But no, it's unlikel y that any of them will go into a diatribe for the media. We believe that we have an assurance from Clinton that, should he achieve a second term, he will attempt to undo the more rigorous elements of the legislation. So it's all sweetness and light on the surface and I think it's unlikely that disruptive behavior will erupt.
About the actual bill, the Republicans put in the objectional planks in the hope that they could force a veto and make it a political weapon in this election year. But President Clinton did not choose to bite. The Democrats want to win. Politicians aren't of much use if they lose.