Former Speaker Newt Gingrich, who worked with then-President Bill Clinton to reform welfare in 1996, was less than pleased with Thursday’s announcement that President Barack Obama‘s administration is waiving the “workfare” requirement that has been standard procedure for nearly two decades. ”It’s exactly the wrong values,” Gingrich told me when he phoned from Seattle on Friday.
Gingrich went on to detail several of his concerns, noting that the new rule “increases the deficit,” and that “[I]t breaks a bipartisan agreement by the president’s unilateral action.”
Gingrich noted that just prior to Clinton signing the law, “92 percent of the country agreed welfare needed to be reformed, including 88 percent of the people on welfare.”
In the end, he observed that this will not be remembered as one of Obama’s smartest moves: “I just think it’s an amazing mistake. It reminds everybody that Obama’s not creating enough jobs.”