12:20 PM ET 04/10/97

Clinton to unveil plan to hire people off welfare

	 
	 (Adds details, quotes)
	    By Arshad Mohammed
	    WASHINGTON (Reuter) - President Clinton Thursday will unveil
plans for the federal government to hire as many as 10,000
people off welfare by 2000 in an effort to cope with last year's
law curbing the program.
	    White House officials said the plans would be discussed at a
special Cabinet meeting at 1:30 p.m. EDT and were part of an
effort to focus attention on the task of moving 2 million people
off the welfare rolls over the next four years.
	    Based on the federal government's size within the overall
economy, the White House estimates the government's share of
that total would come to roughly 10,000 hires over the period,
White House spokesman Mike McCurry said.
	    ``The president will get firm commitments for something less
than that today, but we'll lay out a plan between now and the
year 2000 where we could come in pretty close to that figure,''
he told reporters.
	    Another administration official said the Cabinet would
provide plans to hire specific numbers over the next two years,
and make less detailed commitments to hire more over the
following two years.
	    He said the White House itself would commit to hiring some
people, including on its Domestic Policy Council, which is
responsible for the administration's policy on welfare.
	    On March 8, Clinton asked the Cabinet within a month to
draft plans to hire welfare recipients and called Thursday's
meeting to discuss them and focus the spotlight on the effort.
	    The plans were drawn up in response to the controversial law
the president signed last year that ended the federal
entitlement to welfare, limited benefits to five years and
required people to work after two.
	    Since signing the law, which split his Democratic Party,
Clinton repeatedly has called for businesses, non-profit groups
and religious organizations to hire welfare recipients.
	    One U.S. official said Thursday's announcements were an
effort to set an example: ``This is the federal government doing
its share to fulfill the president's commitment to move people
from welfare to work.''
	    Some Republicans have criticized any efforts to hire welfare
recipients that could make it harder for the working poor to get
jobs.
	    The administration official said the plans would take that
issue into consideration. ``We are obviously well aware of that
concern,'' he said. ``This will be done with that in mind.''
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