Posts Tagged ‘work requirement’

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.