Preempting Bradley, Gore Takes Aim At Deadbeat Dads

By Justin Torres | July 7, 2008 | 8:24 PM EDT

( - Vice President Al Gore today announced a series of welfare proposals aimed at cracking down on deadbeat dads and curbing child poverty on Wednesday - just one day before challenger Bill Bradley is scheduled to give a major address on the same subject.

Gore's speech, at the Congress Heights United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C., included two proposals aimed at fathers who owe child support: a requirement that they pay support or be forced into a job and new regulations making it harder for them to get credit cards.

Gore also endorsed increasing payments to single parents, fixing the 'marriage penalty,' and raising the limits for receiving the Earned Income Tax Credit.

"Millions of fathers are supporting their children both financially and emotionally, and millions of single mothers are working hard to raise their children," said Gore. "But our nation will continue to suffer social and economic consequences unless all fathers do more to help share the responsibilities of parenthood, and America does more to support them in this role."

Gore also supports expanding the Family and Medical Leave Act by lowering the threshold for coverage from businesses with 50 or more employees to businesses with 25 or more, and would require fathers to sign "Personal Responsibility Contracts" that would acknowledge paternity and commit them to pay child support in order to receive help from the TANF or Welfare-to-Work program.

Raymond Keating, chief economist for the Small Business Survival Committee, told that expansion of family leave would have a detrimental impact on small businesses.

"Obviously, the question is one of productivity," said Keating. "It hurts a company of 30 employees to have several people out on family leave more than it does a company with thousands of people."