Marian Wright Edelman
Ultimately the-President failed Edelman's test, signing a bill on Aug. 22 that will cut $54 billion from food-stamp and other welfare programs over the next six years. "It was an attempt to tear down the effort to make the American dream real for every child," says Edelman, who has spent 23 years battling for increased spending on needy families. In September her husband of 28 years, Georgetown University law professor Peter Edelman, 58, quit his high-ranking Health and Human Services job in protest.
Conservative critics were delighted by the apparent spat. "Families are harmed by welfare," says senior policy analyst Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation. "Marian Wright Edelman is very far to the left and very out of sync." But for the daughter of a South Carolina preacher and the mother of three grown sons, the battle hasn't ended, only shifted sites. Now that most welfare decision-making belongs to the individual states, Edelman's movement plans to set up shop in all 50. "Whoever said anybody has a right to give up?" she asks.
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