Congress Looks To Block Obama Welfare Law Changes

Last week, the Government Accounting Office (GAO) determined that Barack Obama did, in fact, change the work requirements in the 1996 Welfare Reform Act that Bill Clinton signed into law. On Thursday, the House Ways and Means and the Education and the Workforce committees are setting forth a resolution to block Obama's changes that basically waive the law's work requirements.

The Hill reports,

Under the administration's revised policy, federal waivers would allow states to test new approaches to boost employment among low-income families. In exchange, states would have to prove that their new methods are effective, or lose the waivers, the administration says. The move comes in response to Republican and Democratic governors' requests for more flexibility under the landmark 1996 welfare-to-work law, but Republicans say waivers will "gut" the law's work requirement — a charge fact-checking organizations have questioned.

Speaking with reporters this week, Camp and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), the leading critics of the policy on Capitol Hill, pushed the idea that the administration circumvented Congress when it floated the waivers. "The non-partisan [Government Accountability Office] analysis says this is actually a rule," Camp said, referring to the decision that allowed Congress to weigh in, "and now we're following the process under the Congressional Review Act." Hatch mentioned his pocket constitution, and said "it appears that this administration doesn't think it has to live by these constitutional constraints."

Democrats argue that the waivers have long been requested by GOP governors, and some say that Republicans are manipulating racial stereotypes about welfare in the way they criticize the new policy.

A major role player in the crafting of the Welfare Reform Act that Clinton signed is Robert Rector. He actually pointed out that Clinton was wrong when he said, “The requirement was for more work, not less.” Rector wrote for the Heritage Foundation:

The Obama Administration will put in mothballs the formal purpose of welfare reform—to reduce the number of people dependent on government benefits. The Administration will abandon the legislative performance goal that encourages states to reduce welfare caseloads. It will weaken the “work participation” standards that require some 30 percent of able-bodied Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients to engage in work activities for 20 to 30 hours per week.

Even worse, the Obama Administration will “waive compliance” with those work participation standards entirely and replace them with alternative standards designed unilaterally by Health and Human Services (HHS) bureaucrats without congressional input or approval. It will encourage states to use those new standards “in lieu of” the work requirements written in the statute. In other words, HHS explicitly plans to jettison the work requirements provided in the law and replace them with an alternative reform model.

Rector went on to summarize exactly what Obama has done in gutting welfare reform. "According to Obama’s new welfare reform performance goals, the pre-reform Aid to Families with Dependent Children program would be a stunning success," he writes. "n the period prior to welfare reform, caseloads soared–and employment exits nearly doubled. By contrast, the post-reform TANF program would be judged a failure, as fewer people were going on welfare in the first place—caseloads plummeted, and employment exits declined."

"Obama has not only gutted welfare reform, he has turned it completely upside down."

The Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) believes that there will be a floor vote soon and that Democrats will join with the Republicans to support the bill.

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  • Pclages

    How about we simply eliminate welfare, as well as all the other means-tested social programs ? It is not like we are rolling in money to play sugar daddy to the country and the world. I favor the approach of Captain John Smith, of Jamestown Colony. " If you don't work, you don't eat "..

  • 1gentready

    Congress should Impeach Barrack Obama and hold him for prosecution along with Eric Holder for the laws they break every day of the year. The Obama administration is a gun running administration they are smugglers they have been working to take over our Government and make it a Marxist and Socialist Government.

  • Mutley

    Anything Congress does concerning changing Welfare laws will only be vetoed by Obama. Even if they overturn the veto, Obama will just issue another "Executive Order" changing the requirements.

  • Josephco

    If you expect to get a monthly check from the Welfare Dept. you should be prepare to do some kind of work in exchange for the money. But, if any politician has enough nerve to say that in public he or she will be accused of being heartless with the poor.

  • disqus_TA9kSrTMnE

    As others have said when is the Republicans in Congress start acting like they should a stop the President from doing all these laws according to executive orders. There is suppose to be two law making bodies not three, the President is not a law making body officially. Start the process of removing the dictator.

  • Anyone but Obama

    Most corrupt administration in US History and no one is doing a thing about it.

  • lokiswife

    Able-bodied people on welfare used to have to do some kind of community service work in return for their check; this was a win for the welfare recipient who was encouraged to get out into the community and work at different jobs, and for taxpayers and the community who got necessary work done. Take the requirement away and it encourages the recipient to stay home watching TV and playing games; the community pays double, once for the welfare recipient and again for a paid worker to do the job.

  • DavidE1940

    How novel, NOW CONGRESS is going to take action to block Odumbo's Welfare Law changes. Obama has by-passed Congress most of the time anyway. What a waste of money.

  • Sweet Lady Mary

    Why not stop the illegal immigration executive order too?????? They need to get off their butts and get busy stoping this madness otherwise we will become a lawless nation. Many will say, if illegals can break the law, why can't we pick and choose which laws to accept.

  • J J

    It's about time Congress did their job and stood up to Obama about his stupid legislation and illegal executive orders.

  • determented

    Its about time Boehner and his house wakes up and scratches the other side of their azz after a3 1/2 year sleep.

  • WilliamH

    Doubtful, but if they did do it, I'd LOVE to watch his tantrum

  • onerightstand

    "looks to...?????" How about simply doing it!

  • Jerry Miller

    Congress is like a old dog that's lost its teeth, it's all bark and no bite. As far as this Congress is concern they have seen their day and Obama knows it. SAD...

  • Carlos Cesena

    He does whatever he wants to buy those votes. Has he threatened Congress yet?

  • manfromthemountain

    We better get back to people wanting to do their share of the work for the money they get or this country is going down!

    • Randy G

      Unfortunately, this has been ongoing since the 1970's I worked hard & did what others didn't want to, but I was the one laid off.

  • ste1021

    The Republicans better fight back against the takeover of their responsibilities by the Obama gang. They've been acting like a buch of whimps.