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Obama Administration Aims to Undermine Key Welfare Reforms

July 16, 2012

“The Obama administration has quietly opened the door for states to seek major changes in how they meet federal welfare-to-work requirements….What started out as just another bureaucratic memorandum drew a swift rebuke from one of the authors of welfare reform, as well as from senior Republican lawmakers.”

[Chairman Dave] Camp, one of the original authors of the legislation, called the move ‘a brazen and unwarranted unraveling’ of the law that ‘ends welfare reform as we know it.’”

“The lawmakers’ criticism followed an initial complaint from Robert Rector of the conservative Heritage Foundation, one of the architects behind the original welfare law, which was a compromise between President Bill Clinton’s administration and Republicans in Congress.  ‘It no longer has any binding force. It might as well have never been written,’ Rector said.”

“This is merely the latest scheme by President Obama to trade taxpayer dollars for votes. With government awash in red ink, it makes no sense to invite states to expand their welfare rolls. Benefits recipients trying to make ends meet while looking for jobs will hopefully see through this patronizing attempt to buy them off.”

“’This is a huge step in the wrong direction,’ [Gov. Terry] Branstad said on Fox News Sunday.  He told host Brit Hume that the law has been very successful ‘and now we see this administration trying to gut it. I think it is illegal.'”

“’President Obama now wants to strip the established work requirements from welfare,’ Mitt Romney said in a statement.  ‘The success of bipartisan welfare reform, passed under President Clinton, has rested on the obligation of work. The president’s action is completely misdirected. Work is a dignified endeavor, and the linkage of work and welfare is essential to prevent welfare from becoming a way of life.’”

“I’m disappointed that after years of sitting on their hands and failing to propose any significant improvements to the TANF programs, the Obama Administration is once again over-stepping their authority and attempting to circumvent Congress through an unprecedented bypass of the legislative process.” (Senator Orrin Hatch)