Leah Barkoukis

 

The cradle to grave Obama administration is at it again. In a move that bypassed Congress and mostly slipped under the media’s radar yesterday, HHS released a policy directive that in essence, scratches the work requirements right out of the welfare reform law of 1996.  

 

According to Heritage:

Welfare reform replaced the old Aid to Families with Dependent Children with a new program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The Heritage Foundation played a pivotal role in building bipartisan consensus for the reform and providing many of the recommendations that became part of the law. The whole point was that able-bodied adults should be required to work or prepare for work as a condition of receiving welfare aid.

This reform was very successful. TANF became the only welfare program (out of more than 70) that promoted greater self-relianceIt moved 2.8 million families off the welfare rolls and into jobs so that they were providing for themselves.Child poverty fell, and single-parent employment rose. Recipients were required to perform at least 20–30 hours per week of work or job preparation activities in exchange for the cash benefit.

 

The articles continues:

 

When it established TANF, Congress deliberately exempted or shielded nearly all of the TANF program from waiver authority. They explicitly did not want the law to be rewritten at the whim of HHS bureaucrats. In a December 2001, the non-partisan Congressional Research Service clarified that there was no authority to override work and other major requirements: “Effectively, there are no TANF waivers,” it reported.

 

Until yesterday, that is.  

 

Romney responds:

 

“President Obama now wants to strip the established work requirements from welfare,” Romney said.  “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.”

 

When the jobs report came out last week President Obama touted it as a step in the right direction, even though more people went on disability than found jobs. By allowing states to seek a waiver for welfare’s work requirement, it has become all too clear that ‘a step in the right direction’ is nothing more than a euphemism for ‘making more people dependent on government.’ Great. 


Leah Barkoukis

Leah Barkoukis is the Managing Editor at Townhall Magazine.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography