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Panel Approves Welfare-Reform Bill

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WASHINGTON--Following months of backstage negotiations, the House Ways and Means Committee last week approved a proposal for sweeping revisions in the nation's welfare system.

The measure, endorsed by all 23 of the panel's Democratic members, would earmark about $5.2 billion to improve day-care services and to provide expanded education and training for long-term welfare recipients and their children.

All 13 Republicans on the panel voted against the bill, arguing that the proposal was too expensive and would tend to discourage, rather than encourage, recipients to seek jobs.

The Republicans' rejection came despite lengthy negotiations with committee Democrats. The bill's chief proponent, Representative Thomas J. Downey, Democrat of New York, had agreed to modify a number of its more controversial provisions, including a requirement that some states increase their minimum benefits to welfare recipients.

A Senate welfare-reform plan--which Senator Daniel P. Moynihan, Democrat of New York, is expected to introduce soon--will reportedly focus more closely on the needs of welfare children.--W.M.

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