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In the Shadows Of Ronald Reagan: Civil Rights Policymaking in the Clinton Administration
Unformatted Document Text:  Carlson presented a briefing book with thirty-six issues for discussion and presidential approval for submission to Congress. At the core of the recommendations were proposals to create a series of block grants for the principal federal welfare programs for the poor, including AFDC, low income energy assistance, and Medicaid. In addition, Carlson proposed that the thirteen categorical nutrition programs (food stamps, school lunch, summer feeding, the Women, Infants and Children program, etc.) be consolidated into a comprehensive nutrition program. Under each of these proposed block grants the states were given “complete discretion over eligibility requirements, they could best determine priorities for truly needed families and design systems which could be financed with block grants”. 88 Although Reagan approved Carlson’s recommendations, they were not submitted to Congress as comprehensive welfare reform until the following year. It is unclear why Reagan delayed, however, Martin Anderson again suggests that welfare reform, like every thing else had to take a back seat to the priorities of tax cuts and the military buildup, and some on the White House staff worried that the proposals would make the administration “appear mean and cruel to the poor”. 89 In 1982 when Reagan presented the proposal it was ignored by the Congress. Moynihan suggests that “had it been proposed in the swirl of the first 100 days as it were, it might well have succeeded”. 90 Thus, Reagan may have missed the opportunity to achieve the conservative movement’s long held wish to reform welfare on the basis of conservative principles. 25

Authors: Smith, Robert.
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Carlson presented a briefing book with thirty-six issues for discussion and 
presidential approval for submission to Congress.
At the core of the recommendations were proposals to create a series of 
block grants for the principal federal welfare programs for the poor, including 
AFDC, low income energy assistance, and Medicaid. In addition, Carlson 
proposed that the thirteen categorical nutrition programs (food stamps, school 
lunch, summer feeding, the Women, Infants and Children program, etc.) be 
consolidated into a comprehensive nutrition program. Under each of these 
proposed block grants the states were given “complete discretion over eligibility 
requirements, they could best determine priorities for truly needed families and 
design systems which could be financed with block grants”.
Although Reagan approved Carlson’s recommendations, they were not 
submitted to Congress as comprehensive welfare reform until the following year. 
It is unclear why Reagan delayed, however, Martin Anderson again suggests that 
welfare reform, like every thing else had to take a back seat to the priorities of tax 
cuts and the military buildup, and some on the White House staff worried that the 
proposals would make the administration “appear mean and cruel to the poor”.
In 1982 when Reagan presented the proposal it was ignored by the Congress. 
Moynihan suggests that “had it been proposed in the swirl of the first 100 days as 
it were, it might well have succeeded”.
 Thus, Reagan may have missed the 
opportunity to achieve the conservative movement’s long held wish to reform 
welfare on the basis of conservative principles.
25


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