July 13-- Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA-09) released the following statement on the heels of the Obama Administration’s announcement that it would violate the 1996 welfare reform law by waiving the law’s work requirements.
The 1996 law mandated that able-bodied adults should be required to work or prepare for work as a condition of receiving welfare aid. The bi-partisan welfare reform law substantially decreased overall poverty and child poverty in America. The Obama Administration has decided that the Department of Health and Human Services can waive or override the work requirements in this law.
“Once again, President Obama is showing the American people that his vision for the United States is one of debt and dependency, instead of opportunity and prosperity. Instead of empowering the American people, it is clear the President wants more citizens on the public dole, making it harder for them to escape poverty. We already know that, since President Obama took office, the amount of taxpayer dollars paying for food stamps doubled. Gutting the welfare reform law is one more tactic by the President to expand the welfare state, rather than equipping those who need assistance to be successful on their own.”
“The degree to which the Obama Administration will ignore the law of the land or circumvent the legislative process, as outlined in our Constitution, is truly frightening. If the President doesn’t like a law, he ignores it. If he can’t get what he wants through the legislative process, President Obama rules by decree. The Obama Administration is an imperial Presidency at its worst.”
The work requirements in the 1996 welfare reform law are part of a program called “Temporary Assistance for Needy Families” (TANF). The Obama Administration issued a new directive stating that TANF work requirements could be avoided through a legal device called a “section 1115 waiver authority” under the Social Security law. Section 1115 lets the Department of Health and Human Services waive only parts of the law listed in section 1115 itself. However, the TANF work provisions are not listed in section 1115, and are not able to be waived under the section 1115 waiver authority.
According to the Heritage Foundation, 2.9 million fewer children lived in poverty in America in 2003, after the welfare reform law was implemented, compared to 1995. Welfare caseloads had also been cut in half.
Examples of The Obama Administration ignoring the laws enacted by Congress or circumventing the legislative process:
• The Department of Justice announced it would no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act.
• The Obama Administration said it would not enforce the deportation of young illegal immigrants, as outlined by the federal immigration law.
• After Congress rejected President Obama’s cap-and-trade energy tax plan, President Obama’s EPA classified carbon dioxide as a pollutant so it could regulate it under the Clean Air Act.