Obama Administration Guts Welfare Reform
The Obama Administration has taken a drastic step to end parts of the welfare reform of 1996. Via the Washington Times:
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today announced an attempt to override the work requirements that were a key accomplishment of Republicans’ welfare reform in 1996.
An “information memorandum” sent to states this afternoon stated that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was excercising her waiver authority under the Social Security Act, specifically the requirement that “parents and caretakers receving assistance under the [Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)] program engage in work activities.”
Today, the Obama Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released an official policy directive rewriting the welfare reform law of 1996. The new policy guts the federal work requirements that were the foundation of the reform law. The Obama directive bludgeons the letter and intent of the actual reform legislation.
Welfare reform replaced the old Aid to Families with Dependent Children with a new program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The underlying concept of welfare reform was that able-bodied adults should be required to work or prepare for work as a condition of receiving welfare aid.
In the past, state bureaucrats have attempted to define activities such as hula dancing, attending Weight Watchers, and bed rest as “work.” These dodges were blocked by the federal work standards. Now that the Obama Administration has abolished those standards, we can expect “work” in the TANF program to mean anything but work.
The new welfare dictate issued by the Obama Administration clearly guts the law. The Administration tramples on the actual legislation passed by Congress and seeks to impose its own policy choices—a pattern that has become all too common in this Administration.
More over at Heritage’s website here.