by Peter Grady –
The Obama administration has quietly issued a directive that effectively guts a key requirement of welfare reform that places work requirements on those receiving benefits.
Fox News reported that the memo issued by the Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday was intended to slip below the radar screen, but it was discovered by Republican lawmakers who accused the administration of unilaterally overhauling one of the greatest bi-partisan agreements in years.
“President Obama just tore up a basic foundation of the welfare contract” Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said in a statement. He went on to say the memo was a violation of the law.
Under the Clinton administration the government passed welfare reform that required individuals on the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to meet certain work requirements. The reform was passed after many complained that individuals on welfare were getting paid for essentially doing nothing and with no expectation they find gainful employment.
Under current laws states must have 50 percent of their caseload meet certain work requirements.
The memo stated that states are free to submit a request to be exempt from the work requirements, in order to “test alternative and innovative strategies, policies, and procedures that are designed to improve employment outcomes for needy families.”
Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, ripped the new policy saying it would return to encouraging living on welfare as a way of life.
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.”
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