WASHINGTON -- Vowing to end "cash-inducements to teen-agers who have children they know they cannot afford to raise," House Republicans proposed yesterday to turn welfare over to the states and end the New Deal guarantee that anyone who qualifies can collect benefits.
The sweeping legislation would also require welfare recipients to work; end cash payments to the "able-bodied" after five years; deny welfare to most legal immigrants; increase efforts to find "dead-beat dads"; halt disability payments to drug addicts and alcoholics; and tighten eligibility criteria for the children's disability program.
The plan abandons the traditional "entitlement" concept that for half a century has guaranteed benefits to anyone who meets the eligibility requirements, regardless of the cost to the government.
Instead, the GOP favors consolidating 50 existing welfare programs into three block grants to the states, which would be able to set many of the rules under which the funds are expended and benefits are awarded.
In addition, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, the program that provides cash to poor children and their mothers, would be capped for the next five years at the 1994 level, a year when the federal government spent more than $12 billion. The states spent more than $10 billion on the program.
The Republican's "Contract with America" also proposed capping spending on Supplemental Security Income, a welfare plan for the blind, aged and disabled that now costs nearly $28 billion a year, and on housing assistance.
A series in The Sun last month described an explosion in the cost ofSocial Security disability programs, including SSI. It outlined problems in disability aid for children, immigrants, drug addicts and alcoholics.
Rep. E. Clay Shaw Jr., who unveiled the Republican plan yesterday in a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, did not specifically reaffirm the GOP promise to limit spending on SSI and housing assistance. His aides did not return phone calls.
On most other counts, the plan he described is similar to one in the House Republican "Contract with America."
Mr. Shaw, a Florida Republican, is chairman of a House Ways and Means subcommittee that will begin Monday to turn the proposal into legislation.
Democrats immediately attacked the plan. Rep. Harold E. Ford of Tennessee, the senior Democrat on the Shaw subcommittee, criticized the welfare proposal for not going far enough to require work, for not providing jobs for those who want to work and for kicking people off the rolls after five years, even if they comply with all the rules.
"It punishes poor children who didn't ask to be born into this situation," he said.
Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, a Baltimore Democrat serving on the Ways and Means Committee, said the proposal oversimplifies welfare problems while penalizing women and children.
"The plan is rather punitive without rewarding work," he said.
Democrats will fight the measure section by section next week, Mr. Cardin said, but he conceded that Republicans would prevail in the subcommittee.
Democrats hope subcommittee action will generate enough public reaction that Republicans will be forced to accept changes in the bill when it is taken up by the full committee in late February or early March, or when it reaches the House floor later in March.
Mr. Shaw said that his plan will mark an end to a welfare state that has failed because, "Congress equated compassion with money . . . [and] equated solutions with one-size-fits-all bureaucracies and remedies."
The Shaw proposal appears to go further than the "Contract with America" in turning welfare over to the states.
That, said John Czwartacki, an aide to the House Republican Conference, was a response to governors who have testified, "Give us block grants and we can save a lot of money."
Mr. Shaw said, "The governors will be able to do more with less," adding that substituting block grants for the 50 existing programs would save taxpayers billions of dollars.
Governors have been unable to agree on an approach to welfare. Some Republicans have favored a "no-strings-attached" block grant to the states while others, mainly Democrats, have worried that needy children would be denied even minimal assistance under such a plan.
The Shaw plan would:
* Stop providing cash to teen-agers who have children, though it would continue to give them food stamps and health care through Medicaid.
"Single teen-age mothers who have children while on welfare are chaining themselves and their babies to an endless life of poverty, passed from one generation to the next," Mr. Shaw said. For too long, the government has added to the problem by paying people for those actions that are self-destructive."
* Require the federal government to assist states in tracking down parents who abandon their children "and make those characters pay their child support."
* Require all recipients "to participate in a work program" after two years on welfare.