A Congressional Research Service (CRS) report reveals that President Barack Obama’s choice to suspend a work requirement welfare law has led to an increase in the number of able-bodied Americans collecting food stamps.
When Obama signed his stimulus bill in 2009, he suspended a rule under the 1996 Welfare Reform Law that regulated how long able-bodied adults without dependents could collect food stamps. Following this action, the number of able-bodied adults on food stamps doubled from 1.9 million in 2008 to 3.9 million in 2010 according to the CRS report.
“This report once again confirms that President Obama has severely gutted the welfare work requirements that Americans have overwhelmingly supported since President Clinton signed them into law,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said in a statement.
Before Obama’s suspension, able-bodied adults were only allowed to collect food stamps for three months in a 36-month period with few exceptions.
Obama’s suspension was effective in all fifty states as of April 2009, but the state of Delaware, New York City, and some areas of Colorado, South Dakota and Texas decided to keep the law in effect.
Despite Obama’s demands to prolong the suspension until 2012, Congress reinstated the rule on Sept. 30, 2010. Obama then used his regulatory authority, effectively undermining Congress, to keep the waivers for almost all the states.
The president is granted this power when the state’s unemployment rate is over 10 percent.
Because of the lagging economy, more Americans would be using food stamps even without the suspension, but it is unlikely that number would be so high.