ANALYSIS: Bernie Sanders vs. Hillary Clinton on Welfare Reform

(Bernie Sanders Instagram)
• July 23, 2015 12:10 pm


While Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are both vying for the Democratic presidential nomination, they are very different candidates, a recent Free Beacon analysis found. A subsequent analysis has determined that Bernie and Hillary had significantly different opinions regarding the controversial welfare reform legislation signed into law by Bill Clinton in the mid-1990s.

Here's how Hillary Clinton described welfare recipients in an 1999 op-ed:

Too many of those on welfare had known nothing but dependency all their lives, and many would have found it difficult to make the transition to work on their own.

Hillary Clinton also defended welfare reform in 2000 column:

Since we first asked mothers to move from welfare to work, millions of families have made the transition from dependency to dignity. 

In 2002, when Congress was debating whether to reauthorize the Clinton-era reforms, then-Senator Hillary Clinton said:

Now that we’ve said these people are no longer deadbeats—they’re actually out there being productive—how do we keep them there?

Bernie Sander, on the other hand, voted against the 1996 welfare reform legislation as a member of the House of Representatives, and strongly denounced it as cruel. Here's how he described the legislation in his 1997 book, Outsider in the House:

The bill, which combines an assault on the poor, women and children, minorities, and immigrants is the grand slam of scapegoating legislation, and appeals to the frustrations and ignorance of the American people along a wide spectrum of prejudices.

Here's how he described the welfare reform debate during a C-SPAN interview in 1994:

My concern is in the process of welfare reform, we begin to look at the causes of poverty in America, that we make sure that we improve the situation and not punish poor people and children, especially the children.

Sanders also wrote in his 1997 that while he supported Bill Clinton for reelection over his GOP rival Bob Dole, he had plenty of reservations:

Do I have confidence that Clinton will stand up for the working people of this country—for children, for the elderly, for the folks who are hurting? No, I do not.

According to our analysis, one of these candidate had a principled, progressive stance toward welfare reform, while the other had a politically convenient stance that, at the time, seemed most likely to advance her political career. And yet, bizarrely, Bernie Sanders is the one under attack for his attitude toward civil rights in this country.

Years later, Bernie Sanders continues to fight for the issues liberals care about without seeking to personally enrich himself in the process. He reported a net worth of just $330,000 in 2013. Hillary Clinton, by contrast, earned more than $25 million over the past year, and earned more than Sanders' entire net worth in one hour for an October 2014 speech sponsored by telecom giant Qualcomm.