House Republicans Seek To Bar Use Of Welfare Money At Strip Clubs
I honestly had no idea that this was an issue:
House Republicans don’t want Uncle Sam paying for any more lap dances.
A bill that GOP leaders are bringing to the House floor Wednesday would require states to prevent welfare recipients from accessing or spending their benefits at strip clubs, casinos and liquor stores.
Republicans included the proposal in the payroll tax bill the House passed in December, and are bringing it back up for a vote separately as part of a package of bills they want included in a final agreement extending the payroll tax cut and other measures through 2012.
Rep. Charles Boustany Jr. (R-La.), the chief sponsor of the strip-club loophole bill, said in an interview that the legislation was a response to press reports that recipients of benefits under the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program were using state-issued debit cards containing the funds for gambling, alcohol and adult entertainment.
“It’s pretty rampant around the country,” Boustany said of the abuses. “This has really eroded the credibility of the TANF program in the eyes of the American taxpayer — a program that has been successful, by and large.
In one well-publicized example, the Los Angeles Times reported in 2010 that California welfare recipients were able to withdraw cash from their state-issued debit cards at more than half of the casinos in the state.
“We have an obligation to make sure taxpayer dollars are spent appropriately,” Boustany said.
Melissa Boteach, who manages the anti-poverty campaign at the liberal Center for American Progress, said that while “nobody thinks TANF money should be spent at strip clubs or casinos,” the House GOP focus was misplaced, and the problem overstated.
“It’s a decoy,” she said of the legislation. “It’s not getting at the real issue of what’s going to address poverty.”
This may be true, but it does contain the two things that garner headlines — government spending abuses and strippers.