The new frontiers of welfare reform under the Presidency of Barack Obama

Daguerre, Anne (2013) The new frontiers of welfare reform under the Presidency of Barack Obama. In: Annual meeting Association Francaise de Science Politique, July 6 2013, Paris. .

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In Western Europe, political commentators have been surprised by the apparent inability of
President Barack Obama - at least during his first term - to implement comprehensive social
policy reform, with the exception of health care legislation.
This article assesses the extent to which the Obama administration is likely to push through a
more progressive social policy agenda during its second term, even though it faces
considerable political institutional constraints in doing so. In particular, House Republicans
have framed the public debate in terms of cuts to social programs as part of an attempt to solve
the problem of the budgetary deficit.

Based on the analysis of legislative documents and current reauthorization debates as well as
on a series of interviews with key policy makers, this contribution presents provisional research
findings concerning the politics of two income maintenance programs, Temporary Assistance
for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP),
formerly known as Food Stamps.

This article is divided into four sections. First, it briefly retraces the history and structure of
TANF and Food Stamps in the broader context of a complex and extremely fragmented social
protection system. Second, it shows that the Obama administration chose to build upon existing
social programs through the American Recovery Act. Third, it argues that the Obama
administration has remained extremely cautious in introducing initiatives aimed at
strengthening the safety net especially since Republicans control the House since their victory
in the 2010 mid-term November elections. Fourth, the article concludes by re-evaluating the
politics of social assistance in the American context.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Research Areas: A. > Business School
Item ID: 15826
Notes on copyright: Access to full text restricted pending copyright check.
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Depositing User: Anne Daguerre
Date Deposited: 08 May 2015 09:17
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2019 06:01

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