Dunbar Backs House Republican “WelFAIR” Reform Package

Rep. George Dunbar (R-Westmoreland) applauded Wednesday’s introduction of a monumental package of welfare reform legislation that is intended to provide savings to the Commonwealth, while returning integrity and accountability to the public benefits system. 

“Public welfare spending once again consumes the single largest expenditure, exceeding even public education funding, in this year’s proposed state budget,” said Dunbar.   “Considering the hundreds of millions of dollars in annual welfare fraud and abuse documented by Auditor General Jack Wagner, I am pleased to support this comprehensive House Republican WelFAIR reform package.   After eight years of outright denial and inaction by the Rendell administration to address this blatant misuse of our tax dollars, the time is now to protect the hard-earned money of working Pennsylvanians and also ensure that each and every dime spent on welfare goes only to the truly needy.”     

Dunbar indicated his support for the following four pieces of welfare reform legislation, all of which were advanced to the House floor earlier this week by the House Health Committee: 

  • House Bill 960 - Requires the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) to establish a fraud detection system and an income eligibility verification system to identify, investigate and resolve potential cases of fraud and abuse. 
  • House Bill 1251 - Expands the definition of welfare fraud and provides whistleblower protection for county assistance employees who report suspected fraud in good faith. 
  • House Bill 1254 - Prohibits public assistance funds from being used in gaming facilities or for the purchase of tobacco and tobacco paraphernalia. 
  • House Bill 1261 - Addresses instances of “welfare shopping” where potential recipients apply in other counties or in multiple counties in order to obtain what they perceive as better benefit opportunities. 

Dunbar is also backing the following welfare reforms which will be voted in committee on Monday, April 11: 

  • House Bill 392 - Mandates use photo identification to make sure benefits aren’t misused or illegitimately transferred to ineligible parties. 
  • House Bill 1297 - Requires drug felons who apply for welfare benefits to pass drug tests in order to maintain eligibility. 
  • House Bill 1301 - Requires better accountability for expenditures made in the Medical Assistance Transportation Program, where fraud, waste, and abuse have significantly increased the burden of the program on taxpayers. 
  • House Bill 1312 - Transitions the special allowance program from grants to a loan-based initiative to ensure accountability of the funds expended for the purpose of transitioning people from welfare to work. 

For the latest legislative updates, visit RepDunbar.com or Facebook.com/RepDunbar.  

State Representative George Dunbar
56th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact:  Ty McCauslin

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