Posts Tagged ‘Welfare Reform’

Government Accounting Office Says Obama Circumvented The LAW With His Gutting Of The Welfare Work Requirement

September 6, 2012

Not that Obama or Democrats give a damn, but Barack Obama broke the law that he clearly considers his divine emperorship to be completely above:

GAO: Obama Admin Circumvented Law with Welfare Waivers
By Matt Cover
September 5, 2012

(CNSNews.com) – The Obama administration circumvented federal law in announcing it would waive the work requirements in welfare, a GAO review found, saying that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) should have submitted the new policy to Congress for review.

At issue is whether the policy falls under the purview of the Congressional Review Act (CRA) that requires all administrative changes of policy or regulation be submitted to Congress for review and possible disapproval.

The GAO, in a letter to House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and Senate Finance Committee ranking member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), said that the July 12 change in policy falls under the CRA and should have been submitted to Congress for approval.

“We find that the July 12 Information Memorandum issued by HHS is a statement of general applicability and future effect, designed to implement, interpret, or prescribe law or policy with regard to TANF [Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the formal name for welfare],” GAO said in its Sept. 4 letter.

“[T]he Information Memorandum is subject to the requirement that it be submitted to both Houses of Congress and the Comptroller General before it can take effect.”

In other words, HHS must formally submit the letter to Congress and the Comptroller General before it can legally issue the waivers to the requirement that a certain portion of welfare recipients work.

GAO noted that it had not determined whether or not HHS had the legal authority to waive the work requirements in the first place, just that it must follow its legal obligations under the CRA.

HHS had contended that it had complied with the law when it notified both House and Senate committees of its new policy July 12, an argument GAO rejected saying that informal notice did not satisfy the law.

“Finally, while HHS may have informally notified the Congressional committees of the issuance of the Information Memorandum, informal notification does not meet the reporting requirements of the CRA.”

According to GAO, federal law requires that the government submit any proposed changes in federal regulations or rules to Congress, so that it may act to formally disapprove and stop the rule from taking effect. GAO found that any rule that is meant to “implement, interpret, or prescribe law or policy” must be submitted to Congress before it can take effect.

In July, HHS issued a memorandum to states announcing it would begin waiving the welfare-to-work requirements for those states who wanted to change their current welfare-to-work programs, including the definitions of what qualifies as work and how states calculate who is and who is not working.

Camp, whose office released the GAO finding, said that HHS’ waiver policy amounted to an “end-run” around Congress.

“Despite his latest attempt at an end-run around Congress, this GAO report clearly states that the Administration must submit this rule to Congress for review before it can take effect. Work requirements were the centerpiece of welfare reform, and we cannot allow that progress to be undone,” Camp said in a statement Tuesday.

On the other hand, you can kind of understand why Obama would gut the welfare work requirement, given that his presidency and his policies are clearly completely incapable of actually creating any damn jobs for welfare recipients to actually have.

It’s just a lot easier for a socialist like Obama to create a nation of needy and disabled people desperately voting “Democrat” in order to get their next welfare check.  Which is why Obama is literally creating an America in which more people go on disability than get jobs.

Obama is adding $6 trillion in debt – and he’s only just getting STARTED bankrupting America.

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For The Record, Barack Obama IS Gutting Welfare Reform As Passed By Republicans In Congress And Signed Into Law By Bill Clinton

September 6, 2012

This piece easily refutes the two lies coming out of the Obama campaign: 1) that Obama somehow isn’t gutting welfare reform by essentially removing the work requirement and 2) that “Republicans did it too” when in fact no they didn’t.

I probably ought to point out here that the Government Accounting Office just issued a statement that Obama circumvented the law in gutting the work requirement of the welfare reform law.

The most dishonest presidency in American history is merely at it again:

Morning Bell: Obama Denies Gutting Welfare Reform
Amy Payne
August 8, 2012 at 9:15 am

The Obama Administration came out swinging against its critics on welfare reform yesterday, with Press Secretary Jay Carney saying the charge that the Administration gutted the successful 1996 reform’s work requirements is “categorically false” and “blatantly dishonest.” Even former President Bill Clinton, who signed the reform into law, came out parroting the Obama team’s talking points and saying the charge was “not true.”

The Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector and Kiki Bradley first broke the story on July 12 that Obama’s Health and Human Services Department (HHS) had rewritten the Clinton-era reform to undo the work requirements, in a move that legal experts Todd Gaziano and Robert Alt determined was patently illegal.

The Administration’s new argument has two parts: denying the Obama Administration’s actions and claiming that Republican governors, including Mitt Romney, tried to do the same thing. In essence, “We did not do what you’re saying, but even if we did, some Republicans did it, too.” Both parts of this argument are easily debunked.

Obama Administration Claim #1: We Didn’t Gut Work Requirements

Ever since the 1996 law passed, Democratic leaders have attempted (unsuccessfully) to repeal welfare’s work standards, blocking reauthorization of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF) and attempting to weaken the requirements. Unable to eliminate “workfare” legislatively, the Obama HHS claimed authority to grant waivers that allow states to get around the work requirements.

Humorously, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius now asserts that the Administration abolished the TANF work requirements to increase work.

HHS now claims that states receiving a waiver must “commit that their proposals will move at least 20 percent more people from welfare to work compared to the state’s prior performance.” But given the normal turnover rate in welfare programs, the easiest way to increase the number of people moving from “welfare to work” is to increase the number entering welfare in the first place.

Bogus statistical ploys like these were the norm before the 1996 reform. The law curtailed use of sham measures of success and established meaningful standards: Participating in work activities meant actual work activities, not “bed rest” or “reading” or doing one hour of job search per month; reducing welfare dependence meant reducing caseloads. Now those standards are gone.

Obama’s HHS claims authority to overhaul every aspect of the TANF work provisions (contained in section 407), including “definitions of work activities and engagement, specified limitations, verification procedures and the calculation of participation rates.” In other words, the whole work program. Sebelius’s HHS bureaucracy declared the existing TANF law a blank slate on which it can design any policy it chooses.

Obama Administration Claim #2: Even If We Did, the Republicans Tried It, Too

Though the Obama Administration is claiming it is not trying to get around the work requirements, it is also claiming that a group of Republican governors tried to do the same thing in 2005. Clinton also said in his statement yesterday that “the recently announced waiver policy was originally requested” by Republican governors.

Heritage welfare expert Robert Rector addressed this claim back on July 19. As Rector explains:

But [the governors’] letter makes no mention at all of waiving work requirements under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. In fact, the legislation promoted in the letter—the Personal Responsibility and Individual Development for Everyone (PRIDE) Act—actually would have toughened the federal work standards. It proposed raising the mandatory participation rates imposed on states from 50 percent to 70 percent of the adult TANF caseload and increasing the hours of required work activity.

The governors’ letter actually contradicts the Administration’s main argument: If the law has always permitted HHS to waive the work requirements, then why didn’t the governors just request waivers from then-President George W. Bush? Why would legislation be needed?

Two reasons: First, it has been clear for 15 years that the TANF law did not permit HHS to waive the work requirements. Second, the Republican governors were not seeking to waive the work requirements in the first place.

Obama’s Evolution from Welfare to Work and Back

President Obama had a convenient change of heart regarding welfare reform when it was time to run for President. In 1998, when he was an Illinois state senator, Obama said:

I was not a huge supporter of the federal plan that was signed in 1996. Having said that, I do think that there is a potential political opportunity that arose out of welfare reform. And that is to desegregate the welfare population—meaning the undeserving poor, black folks in cities, from the working poor—deserving, white, rural as well as suburban.

The same year, he reiterated that “the 1996 legislation I did not entirely agree with and probably would have voted against at the federal level.”

But in 2008, when he was running for President, Obama said he had changed his mind about welfare reform: “I was much more concerned 10 years ago when President Clinton initially signed the bill that this could have disastrous results….It had—it worked better than, I think, a lot of people anticipated. And, you know, one of the things that I am absolutely convinced of is that we have to work as a centerpiece of any social policy.”

One of his 2008 campaign ads touted “the Obama record: moved people from welfare to work” and promised that as President, he would “never forget the dignity that comes from work.”

This evolution is unsurprising, considering the vast majority of Americans favor requiring welfare recipients to work.

President Obama has finally accomplished what Democrats have been trying to do for years. He has even gotten President Clinton to turn his back on one of the signature achievements of his Administration to give him political cover—which Clinton was quick to do. In 1996, Clinton had to compromise and allow the tough work requirements to get the legislation passed.

Both Presidents have now revealed their true feelings about welfare—and there’s no denying it.

Obama is counting on the ignorance and increasing depavity and cynicism of the American people.

Obama Turns To Clinton To Advance The ‘Democrats As Party Success’ Myth As His Economy Turns to Crap

July 17, 2010

Barack Obama is widely seen as a complete failure.  Businesses large and small are turning on him and his incredibly harmful economic policies.  Even former staunch allies such as US News & World Report owner Mortimer Zuckerman and GE CEO Jeff Immelt have turned on him.

His answer?  To turn to an impeached, disbarred, lying and oath-breaking, sexual predator and unconvicted rapist to save a failed president for the sake of the Democrat Party.

From Reuters:

WASHINGTON, July 14 (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama sought on Wednesday to lift sagging confidence in his economic stewardship by enlisting the help of predecessor Bill Clinton, as a leading business group issued a scathing critique of the administration’s policies.

Clinton, who presided over the 1990s economic boom, joined Obama at a closed-door White House meeting with business leaders to encourage job creation and investment, including in clean energy.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a top business group, issued a rebuke of Obama’s economic agenda, accusing him and his Democrats in Congress of neglecting job creation and hampering growth with burdensome regulatory and tax policies.

What this country needs is a return to “it depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”

It doesn’t matter that Clinton once recognized that Obama is little more than a Chicago thug.

It doesn’t matter in this Obama-era of race-baiting that Obama played the race card on Clinton.

It doesn’t matter that Bill Clinton subsequently demonstrated that he frankly deserved to be labeled as a racist when he outraged Ted Kennedy by telling him regarding Obama, “A few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee.”  Or that Clinton essentially said, “MAYBE joining the Ku Klux Klan was wrong” in honoring the former Kleagle and Exalted Cyclops Robert Byrd.

All that matters in the mainstream media propagandist cesspool is that – while Barack Obama is increasingly recognized to be a complete economic failure and fraud – Bill Clinton is an economic hero who can therefore temporarily restore confidence in Obama and his failed policies until after the November election.

As usual, the media isn’t telling the full truth about Clinton.  Or what happened to create the healthy economy of the 1990s.

The mainstream media is remarkably consistent: you can count upon them to never give Democrats the blame they deserve, and you can count upon them to never give Republicans the credit they deserve, about anything.

Bill Clinton is widely hailed for presiding over a great economy that featured a budget surplus.

But let’s consider a very basic fact:

From the Herald-Journal, January 27, 1984

If you took a quiz on government and were asked who writes the national budget, would you answer “The President” or “The Congress”?

The correct answer is “The Congress.”

The U.S. Constitution says that power belongs to Congress. All through our history, the Congress has exercised that power. The president cannot spend one thin dime that has not been approved by Congress.

Article One of the Constitution of the United States refutes the argument that Bill Clinton should receive credit for his “surplus”.  It was the Republican-dominated CONGRESS featuring promises that stemmed from the Contract with America, that resulted in the healthy budget that Clinton the media gave Clinton credit for producing.  Even though all he did was sign (often after vetoes) that which Republicans had actually produced.

What we don’t get told very was that Bill Clinton did such a miserable job running the country for his first two years in office that he suffered the largest (at least until this coming November) political defeat in American history when the Republicans swept into power over both the House and the Senate.  We’re not told that Republicans continued to be the majority party in both the House and Senate during the years that the media assigned Clinton all the credit.

It was those Republicans who were most responsible for the good times that resulted.  They are most certainly responsible for the budget surpluses that Democrats have congratulated themselves for ever since.  The very first item on the Republicans’ agenda was the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

One quick example of these Republican changes was welfare reform.  In his 1996 State of the Union, after losing even more fights, Bill Clinton was famously forced to admit, “The era of big government is over.”  And Republicans were making that statement true by passing welfare reform legislation and an avalanche of other cost-cutting measures that made a budget surplus possible.

Two welfare reform bills were passed by the Republican Congress, which Clinton vetoed.  Then a third bill was passed by the Republicans, which Clinton finally signed.  The National Organization for Women noted:

“There is little difference between the welfare bill (H.R.4) which the president vetoed in January and the new plan H.R. 3734/S 1795.”

An analysis by Steven Dawson for the Saint Louis University Law Journal observed that:

“In fact, President Clinton vetoed two largely similar prior versions of the bill.”

All rhetoric aside, Bill Clinton was FORCED to sign welfare reform into law by the Republican Congress.  Just as he was FORCED into a balanced budget, and any subsequent budget surplus.

But after being literally dragged into signing it, Bill Clinton took credit for it as though it had been his idea all along.  And the media duly reported that slanted history as a matter of “fact.”

That said, we can also point out that “the Clinton budget surplus” also had a lot to do with budgetary smoke and mirrors.

And like I said, the same media that will never give Republicans credit for something good will never give Democrats blame for something bad.

Consider the last three plus years’ worth of reckless spending.  The Bush administration has been blamed for much of this reckless spending, but it was actually a Democrat Congress that swept into power in 2006 (largely due to what we can now readily see was hypocritical demagoguery over the Iraq War and Hurricane Katrina rather than any economic issue) which proceeded to spend America into the stratosphere:

For the record, the last budget from a Republican President AND a Republican Congress – FY-2007 (passed in 2006) – resulted in a$161 billion deficit at a time when unemployment was 4.6%.  That’s what happened the last time the GOP was in control.

What happened when the Democrats took control in January 2007?  Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi passed a FY-2008 budget that had a $459 billion deficit – nearly three times the deficit in the immediately previous Republican-passed budget.  Three times.  And this before the financial crisis that somehow “necessitated” all this massive spending.

Now, that’s a pretty crazy increase under Democrat control.  But you aint seen nothin’ yet.

The Democrats passed a FY-2009 budget with a staggering, mind-boggling, totally reckless $1.42 TRILLION deficit.

The FY-2010 budget approved by Reid and Pelosi and signed by Obama had an estimated $1.6 TRILLION deficit.

The deficit has increased from $161 billion in the last budget before Democrats took control of the Congress (FY 2007) to $1.42 trillion in the most recent fiscal year (FY 2009)—an increase of $1.26 trillion or 782%.

With three months remaining in the fiscal 2009 budget, the federal deficit just officially passed the $1 trillion mark.  Worse yet, Obama borrowed more than forty cents for every single dollar he spent.

We also suffered a budget shortfall of $94 billion in the month of June, which marks the first June in more than ten years (read, “encompassing the entire Bush presidency”).  Bush’s success in raising revenues is bookended by two Democrat presidents who failed.

And now the Democrats aren’t even bothering to pass a budget for the next fiscal year, so they can simply spend without any accountability whatsoever.

The old annual deficits under Republicans have now become the monthly deficits under Democrats:

In the 12 years that Republicans controlled the House, the average deficit was $104 billion (average of final deficit/surplus FY1996-FY2007 data taken from Table F-1 below).  In just 3 years under Democrats, the average deficit is now almost $1.1 trillion (average of final deficit/surplus FY2008 and 2009 data taken from Table F-1; FY2010 data taken from Table 1-3).  Source: CBO January 2010 Budget and Economic Outlook

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Minority Whip) rightly pointed out on ABC’s “This Week”:

“If you look at the kind of deficit that we’ve incurred over the last three years that the Democrats have been in control of Congress, 60% of the overall deficit from the last ten years has occurred in that period. And frankly with the incurrence of the debt, we’ve seen very little result. That’s why we think we ought to choose another way.”

And yet the media falsely blame BUSH and Republicans for that spending, rather than Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and the Democrat-controlled House and Senate, even though factually speaking the Democrats were ENTIRELY to blame for every single penny that was spent from January 2007 on.  Because our Constitution forbids a president from spending; it is CONGRESS that spends.

I also point out in that article (and many others such as this one) that Democrats were primarily responsible for the disastrous policies that led to the 2008 collapse.  They were basically completely responsible for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and their reckless policies, and then utterly refused to allow any reforms that would have averted the ensuing disaster.

In an honest world, Bill Clinton wouldn’t get anywhere near as much credit as he does for the strong economy of the 1990s.  And Republicans wouldn’t get anywhere near as much blame as they received for the 2008 collapse.

The problem is, our mainstream media advances one outright lie after another.  And the lies become “truth” through sheer repetition.

Obama isn’t calling upon Bill Clinton to actually offer advice on how to turn the economy around; he’s calling Clinton in as a prop.  Bill Clinton was forced to change his failed policies when the Republicans swept into power.  Hopefully, that is exactly what will happen beginning this November.