Obama administration ‘guts’ welfare reform with new HHS rule

The American Thinker reported Friday that House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp and the Ranking Member on the Senate Finance Committee Orrin Hatch sent a letter to HHS Secretary Sebelius Thursday expressing “deep concern” about the memo and demanding a legal reasoning behind the guidance by Monday.

“Simply put, if Congress had intended to allow waivers of TANF work requirements, it would have said so in the statute,” the pair wrote. “Instead, Congress did the exact opposite and explicitly prohibited waivers to section 407 work requirements among other sections of the Social Security Act.”

Robert Rector, The Heritage Foundation’s senior research fellow on domestic policy and Katherine (Kiki) Bradley, former associate director of the federal TANF program and Heritage fellow further postulated that the new directive signals an end to the 1996 reforms.

“The new welfare dictate issued by the Obama Administration clearly guts the law,” Rector and Bradley wrote at The Foundry. “The Administration tramples on the actual legislation passed by Congress and seeks to impose its own policy choices—a pattern that has become all too common in this Administration. The result is the end of welfare reform.”

After the rule change, House Speaker John Boehner released a statement condemning the move.

“By gutting the work requirements in President Clinton’s signature welfare reform law, President Obama is admitting his economic policies have failed,” Boehner wrote.

“While President Clinton worked with Congress in a bipartisan way on welfare reform and economic opportunity, President Obama has routinely ignored Republican proposals, rejected House-passed jobs bills, and imposed an agenda that’s helped keep the unemployment rate above eight percent for 41 months. Instead of working with Republicans to boost job creation, the president is simply disregarding the requirement that welfare recipients find work,” he continued.

Boehner concluded, “Welfare reform was an historic, bipartisan success – this move by the Obama administration is a partisan disgrace.”

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