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Bundestag Approves Social Welfare Reform

Germany's lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, on Friday approved a compromise for sweeping social welfare reforms that government and opposition politicians had hammered out on Wednesday. The bill reduces payments for long-term unemployed and requires them to take on almost any job offered to them. Municipalities will be responsible for paying for housing and will receive €3.2 billion ($3.9 billion) in federal funds to do so. Critics of the plan said many of those affected would have troubles filling out the new 15-page application form and predicted that the introduction of the new system come Jan. 1 will be chaotic. Germany's upper house, the Bundesrat, still has to vote on the bill on July 9, but approval is almost certain.

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