- The Washington Times - Monday, January 28, 2002

ASSOCIATED PRESS
President Bush will ask Congress to set aside at least $100 million for experimental programs aimed at encouraging marriage for single welfare mothers.
The president, however, is resisting conservative pressure to require that states push marriage in their welfare programs. The Bush administration is also rejecting arguments for cutting overall welfare funding.
The administration is also considering relaxing the strict work rules adopted in 1996 to allow for education and training. And officials are contemplating new money for experiments aimed at helping former recipients get higher-paying jobs.
For the most part, Mr. Bush and his advisers believe the landmark welfare overhaul adopted in 1996 is working well, and the administration wants to make changes only on the margin when Congress renews the law this year.
"I want to make sure we take the basic system that we have, which is working, and improve upon that so that people that are working and have left welfare have got better opportunities to advance and move up the economic ladder into self-sufficiency," said Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson.
Some of the administration's plan will be described in the budget Mr. Bush submits to Congress on Feb. 4. So far, the administration is rejecting the most sweeping proposals from both liberals and conservatives, according to administration officials.

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