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Welfare Integrity Now

Updated on February 2, 2012

On February 1, 2012, the United States House of Representatives voted on the Welfare Integrity Now for Children and Families Act of 2011. The bill, which was introduced by Representative Charles Boustany of Louisiana, passed through the House of Representatives overwhelmingly by 395 to 27. It now has to go through the Senate and pass to make it to the President to be signed into law. The problem is that the bill did not pass through the House unanimously.

The bill focused on the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. Under this program, people are given a debit card that can be used to take out cash from ATMs. The specific amount of money they have to use is from the government. Participants can take out cash from the ATM and use it for whatever needs they have. The Welfare Integrity Now for Children and Families Act of 2011 that passed through the House yesterday made an amendment to this program. The amendment states that the EBT card cannot be used in strip clubs, casinos, or liquor stores.

To most people, this seems very reasonable. Strip clubs, casinos, and liquor stores offer nothing that is needed to survive. The only things offered at those three venues are all luxuries and based on desire rather than need. It makes sense that the government assistance should not be used at any of these places. It seems like common sense that this amendment should be added to attempt to prevent abuse of federal money. However, it apparently wasn’t common sense to the 27 members of the House of Representatives who voted against the amendment.

While it may not be known why these representatives voted against the bill, it is absolutely atrocious. Boustany sponsored the bill because he believes it is the government’s responsibility to make sure that the tax payers’ money is not abused. "Providing access to welfare funds on EBT cards in strip clubs, liquor stores, and casinos was never the intent of the program," Boustany said, so it only makes sense for the bill to have gone through. The government assistance is meant to help people reestablish themselves and get back to being self-sustaining. Tax payers should be happy with this bill passing through the House because it is meant to help protect their money. While people will likely find another way around this new legislation and continue to abuse the money, this is at least one positive step taken by the government.

The real questions should be aimed at the 27 members of the House who voted against this bill. The members who essentially voted in favor of government money and tax payers’ dollars to be used at strip clubs, casinos, and liquor stores. These members are practically saying it is okay to abuse government assistance instead of people using it to get back on their feet. This bill was not meant in a cynical way or meant to be a shot at the poor. It was simply written to make sure money is used how it is supposed to be.


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    • Joelipoo profile image

      Joel 5 years ago from Ohio

      @der - It is a no brainer. It's just sad that we need legislation to dictate that. Thanks for reading.

    • Der Meister profile image

      Der Meister 5 years ago from Virgo Supercluster

      "The amendment states that the EBT card cannot be used in strip clubs, casinos, or liquor stores." It appears to be a reasonable bill. I'm with teachertalking that it's a no-brainer.

    • Joelipoo profile image

      Joel 6 years ago from Ohio

      @RTalloni - You are right about accountability. There is none with most of the entitlement programs it seems. Something major needs done for sure.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      The accountability issue regarding where the cash is spent should be the main priority. The whole system is so wrong on so many levels that I am not surprised about 27 members didn't vote for it. Hopefully, at least some of them didn't vote for it because they are working on a better plan--I promise I am not trying to be sarcastically cynical here.

    • Joelipoo profile image

      Joel 6 years ago from Ohio

      @KDF - It's shocking and sad. Thanks for reading.

    • KDF profile image

      KDF 6 years ago from Central Illinois

      It sure does seem ridiculous that 27 members didn't vote for it, then again, those people who vote haven't touched reality in how many years????

    • Joelipoo profile image

      Joel 6 years ago from Ohio

      @tammyswallow - You are right on with this. There is no accountability for this money and where it is spent. I am all for the drug test as well. Maybe it will inspire another hub.

      @teachertalking - My main gripe is to why this had anyone voting against it. We should want to know it's being spent correctly. I have heard about the misuse of these cards as well. It's sad.

    • teachertalking1 profile image

      teachertalking1 6 years ago

      The Amendment surely seems like a no-brainer - and I'm perplexed as to why the amendment would not pass with flying colors! I've actually heard that the cards are often exchanged for drugs and other unmentionable "acts". Why wouldn't we want to have some assurance that the money provided is being used appropriately?

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 6 years ago from North Carolina

      I had no idea. If these funds are put on a debit card, people can withdrawl the money and use these funds to buy cigarettes, drugs, beer.. you name it. I am a firm believer that people should be mandated to take a drug test to get welfare and agencies should have to monitor spending. You are a great watchdog for this cause!

    • Joelipoo profile image

      Joel 6 years ago from Ohio

      @agreenworld - I was just shocked that anyone voted against this. Thanks for residing, and I'm happy to enlighten you.

    • agreenworld profile image

      Dawn A. Harden 6 years ago from CT-USA

      Thank you for putting a light on this. It is unbelievable!