State GOP lawmakers claimed the strict limits on welfare they approved last week were a form of tough love – a caring way to help low-income Kansans by forcing them to become more self-sufficient. But the debate was dominated by suggestions that fraud is a major problem and that people are on welfare because they are lazy. One particularly out-of-touch new rule bars people on welfare from withdrawing more than $25 a day from ATM machines using a welfare debit card. As a result, getting enough money to pay rent could require several weeks’ worth of daily trips to an ATM. Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau, D-Wichita, told her Senate colleagues that they were ignorant about the realities of poverty, noting that most people on welfare are already working. Rep. Roderick Houston, D-Wichita, pastor of Mt. Olive Tabernacle of Praise Church of God in Christ, likened the restrictions to Jesus’ parable about the sheep and the goats. Houston tweeted: “When I was hungry, you took my food stamps.” – Phillip Brownlee
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