Skip to comments.House GOP seeks to bar the use of welfare funds at strip clubs (Dancers hardest hit)
Posted on 01/31/2012 4:34:43 PM PST by Libloather
House GOP seeks to bar the use of welfare funds at strip clubs
By Russell Berman - 01/31/12 01:47 PM ET
House Republicans dont 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.
Its 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.
We need to correct this problem, and thats what the bill does, Boustany said.
The House bill would give states two years to implement new rules. States that fail to comply could be hit with a 5 percent reduction in their block grant.
Boustanys office cited reports of welfare abuses in eight states, totaling millions of dollars. His legislation would not reduce spending directly, but would restrict how taxpayer funds can be used.
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.
Its a decoy, she said of the legislation. Its not getting at the real issue of whats going to address poverty.
Boteach also noted that despite the country's elevated unemployment and poverty levels, funding for the TANF program has remained flat for the last 15 years.
House Republicans are bringing Boustanys bill to the floor under a procedure requiring a two-thirds majority to pass. They see the issue as a win-win: Either the bills passage increases the chances it will make it into a final payroll tax agreement, or Democrats vote it down and risk political attack from Republicans.
In the same package of bills, the House will vote on legislation to extend a salary freeze for federal employees and members of Congress and a measure reducing funding for congressional committees. The salary freeze is a central element of the House GOP proposal for offsetting the extension of the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits.
A Democratic aide predicted that most Democrats would support the strip-club loophole bill, but said it was unclear whether the party would back the federal pay freeze.
Another Democratic aide said the GOP bill was another example of Republicans ignoring the pressing problem of job creation.
With their constituents asking them to get to work getting people back to work, Republicans are spending another week in the House looking for a reason not to, the aide said. Does this bill answer the question, 'Where is the GOP House agenda?'? The answer is no.
Boustany noted that the House GOP payroll tax bill in December, which included the welfare provision, received some Democratic votes. And he said a Senate version of the legislation had the backing of Max Baucus (D-Mont.), the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Baucus is also a chairman of the House-Senate conference committee on the payroll tax cut extension.
To my friends across the aisle, I would simply say, you supported it before, why not support it now? Boustany said.
A spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services, which administers the TANF program, said the Obama administration has no official position on the bill.
What can I say.....just say cry me a river.
strip dancers are getting a significant chunk of their income from clients using welfare funds to pay for them?
aww, how are we going to keep those poor strip dancers off the welfare rolls???
Beautiful way to redistribute wealth. Nice work, federal government.
Why do you think they call it a Stimulus Plan?
No matter how a politician slices it, cutting spending is NEVER in the equation....EVER
It is amazing that they focus on stuff like this. Don't get me wrong, it needs to be fixed. But this is like complaining that the faucet is dripping in one of the the bathrooms on the Titanic.
What will it cost to regulate this?
Man, government is STUPID!!!
On one level, I admire strippers since, at least, they aren’t sponging off the government. They could be sitting at home like the welfare queens but they are trying to make something more of the themselves.
Next thing you know they will be trying to stop people from buying Heroin with food stamps.
I liked those bumper stickers that say: “I support Single Moms” then it shows a Pole Dancer. Stripers/Pole Dancers are double dipping the Welfare Funds. You go Gals!
Another Bitter Clinger attack on social justice and true equality.
Why do you think they call it a Stimulus Plan?
Not to say there’s no merit to this but I’ve seen it many times in large American cities: when law enforcement just cannot seem to snag the bad girls and guys and the citizens are getting impatient, bad press, etc., they always go round up the hookers. Always. And it usually quiets the town for enough time to think of something else. And the newspapers eat it up.
Similarly, the House Republicans can’t do jack to derail the 0bama machine and its destructive ways, the borders, the debt,...it goes on and on. Sooooo...they go after the welfare kings and queens and the hookers.
Don’t look at that man behind the curtain, conservatives!
While I would have a difficult time actually banning such places (typically they are semi-strip dancers who only strip to their nylons) I think it’s sad that women feel it’s needful or appropriate to cheapen themselves in that manner (and the same for the men who watch them).
This is one of those claims so colossal it takes your breath away. I guess the merchants upon whom it is spent appreciate it, but those businesses who have to pay it, less so. Whoever robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul.
Pardon me, sir. The only correct solution to this problem is abolishing the TANF program. It gives cash straight to the welfare loafers.
I strongly object to food stamps but at least that benefit can't be spend at strip joints and liquor stores.
Make them use the barter system. If they do not need the money for food why are they getting assistance. If they need assistance, how are they getting their food?