Bill Clinton used to talk about ending welfare as we know it. Today, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed ending it, full stop.

“We now have to use the ax to eliminate some of those programs,” he said today.

About 1.3 million Californians — including 1 million children — rely on the state's CalWORKS program. The average grant per family is $500 per month. Eliminating the program would save about $1 billion.

The action now shifts to the Legislature, which seems unlikely to endorse this idea.

“We will not pass a budget that eliminates CalWorks,” Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said.

“We will not be party to devastating families. That's not what any of us

came to Sacramento to do.”

UPDATE: Speaker John Perez stepped away from the links at Pebble Beach to issue this statement:

“The Governor's suggestions are clearly more reflective of a hyper-partisan political agenda than in finding real solutions to our problems. Putting Californians back to work is the fundamental priority for Californians, and we do not have the luxury of another bruising summer of ideological warfare.”

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