On November 16, the Brookings Institution and the Annie E. Casey Foundation marked the 10th anniversary of historic welfare reform legislation by hosting a discussion with key participants in the formation and passage of the law. Senior Fellow Ron Haskins, author of Work over Welfare: The Inside Story of the 1996 Welfare Reform Law (Brookings, 2006) opened the session with his own reflections of how this revolution in American social policy fundamentally changed the nature of government assistance to poor families in America.
Former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich; and the Honorable Charles Stenholm; gave keynote addresses. The event also featured a panel that included scholars, advocates, former government officials, and a state representative, all of whom were deeply involved in the welfare reform movement of the mid-1990s or implementation of the 1996 welfare law. Participants discussed how Republicans were able to pass the legislation on a bipartisan basis, the role of President Clinton in shaping and passing the final law, and the impacts the law has had on welfare mothers and children, state and local welfare programs, and American politics.