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Michigan Senate Votes To Limit Welfare Benefits

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LANSING (WWJ/AP) – The Michigan Senate has passed a new limit for families receiving welfare benefits.

WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick reports some 12,600 families will lose their welfare benefits after four years after Gov. Rick Snyder signs this legislation at a savings for the state of $60 million.

While the Democrats worry about the cost to Michigan families, Republicans say the hope is that they don’t get that far.

“We hope they never get to four years, and when the economy begins to come back there are jobs. I would tell you there are jobs out there now that people are not taking,” said one GOP State Senator.

“Are they the best jobs? No. We all know that. But there are jobs available,” he said.

The measure passed 24-12 with Democrats voting as a bloc to oppose it.

Critics say the limits would boot some needy families off public assistance. It “will result in families losing much-needed assistance in the worst economic downturn in years,” said Sen. Vincent Gregory, a Democrat from Southfield.

“We should be lifting up our families and encouraging them to self-sufficiency. Ninety percent of these families are working poor . often trying to support children and just barely getting by. We are pushing these families to homelessness,” he said.

The legislation reflects welfare limits approved earlier this year as part of the state budget plan. The state House already had approved welfare limits legislation and will have to agree to changes made in the Senate.

Michigan’s current law has a similar time limit but it has more exceptions than the revised plan. The current law is due to expire in late September.

 The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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