Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) issued the following statement after House passage of H.J.Res. 118, which disapproves of President Obama's decision to eliminate critical welfare to work requirements:
"If President Obama had spent the last four years focused on putting people back to work instead of encouraging dependence on government, I doubt the unemployment rate would still be above eight percent -- as it has been for more than 40 straight months. But by ignoring the law and gutting the critical work requirements from the hugely successful welfare reforms implemented by President Clinton and a Republican Congress, President Obama has dealt another blow to America's hardworking taxpayers. This resolution is another example of how we in the House are fighting for policies that create jobs instead of dependence."
Since the work-based 1996 welfare reforms were enacted, welfare caseloads have declined by 57 percent through 2011. Employment levels among single mothers increased by 15 percent from 1996 through 2000, and even after the recession it is still higher than before welfare reform. Further, child poverty in female-headed households fell dramatically after welfare reform and is still down by more than 15 percent below the level in the early 1990s.
Despite these positive trends, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a memorandum on July 12, 2012, unilaterally allowing states to seek a waiver from the work requirements central to the success of the 1996 welfare reforms.
A recent GAO report found that HHS exceeded its previously defined authority when it waived the TANF work requirements.
H.J.Res. 118 expresses the House's disapproval of the Obama administration's effort to eliminate these work requirements and would prevent it from gutting the work requirements of the 1996 welfare reform law.
According to a recent Rasmussen survey, more than 80 percent of Americans believe that those who do receive welfare benefits should be required to work.