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A financial aid package that grants federal money to state and local governments for use in social welfare programs, such as law enforcement, community development, and health services. Block grants provide money for general areas of social welfare, rather than for specific programs. This arrangement not only reduces bureaucratic red tape, but also allows grant recipients more freedom to choose how to use the funds. A product of Republican administrations in the 1970s and 1980s, block grants reduce federal responsibility for social welfare. (See federalism.)