[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1995, Book I)]
[January 28, 1995]
[Pages 108-109]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Remarks on Welfare Reform
January 28, 1995

    Good morning. I am on my way to Blair House to host an all-day 
meeting that is a bipartisan working session on welfare reform. We will 
have Members of Congress, Governors, and local officials there from all 
across our country. I am determined to work with them to pass welfare 
reform. I think it is perhaps the most pressing social problem we face 
in our country, and the time has come for Congress to act.
    As I said in the State of the Union, what we need in welfare reform 
is a New Covenant of opportunity and responsibility. People on welfare 
who can work should go to work. Parents who owe child support should pay 
it. Governments don't raise children; people do. And we must have a 
national campaign against teenage pregnancy and births outside marriage.
    If we're going to end welfare, let's do it right. We should require 
work and responsibility, but we shouldn't cut people off just because 
they're poor or young or unmarried. We should promote responsibility by 
requiring young mothers to live at home or in proper supervised settings 
and to finish school. But we shouldn't put them or their children out on 
the street. I have worked on this issue since 1980. I know that the 
people who want to change welfare most are those who are trapped on it.
    Yesterday, in preparation for this meeting, I met with four former 
welfare mothers who have managed to free themselves from the system. I 
listened again to the stories of people who have had great difficulty in 
trying to get the kind of support they need to get off of welfare, 
people who did not want to go on in the first place and were anxious to 
be off of it. I know that most people who are trapped in welfare will 
gladly take the work options if we can work out the system in the proper 
way. I also know that those who don't want to do the responsible thing 
must be required to do so.
    But our job in the end is not to tear anybody down and not to use 
this issue to divide America, but to build people up, to liberate them, 
to give them the capacity they need to compete and win in this new 
economy. The American people want us to put politics aside and to get 
this done for our country. I am committed to doing it, and I believe the 
people who are com-

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ing to this meeting this morning are committed as well.
    Wish us well. Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 8:12 a.m. at the South Portico of the White