|(posted Friday, Aug. 2)|
Congress passed a welfare-reform bill and--after days of will-he-or-won't-he--the president said he would sign it. The bill ends the federal guarantee of cash support for poor children, cuts federal welfare spending, and leaves most welfare policy (except for a work requirement) up to the states. Conservatives and liberals agreed it was the end of an era, but disagreed about whether that's a good thing. Critics on both sides derided Clinton as a prostitute to ascendant conservatism. Another theme of the coverage was that state and local governments will be stuck with the cost of supporting people tossed off the welfare rolls. Political reporters agreed that Clinton's decision to sign the bill helped him, helped congressional Republicans, and hurt Dole. Several pundits noted the increasing symbiosis between Clinton and Gingrich.