Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA-09) released the following statement, after voting in favor of H.J. Res. 118, which disapproves of the Obama Administration's policy on welfare work requirements. In July, the Obama Administration announced it would violate the 1996 welfare reform law by allowing the Department of Health and Human Services to waive or override 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 was successful, substantially decreasing overall poverty and child poverty. H.J. Res. 118 also prevents the administration from implementing its plan to waive the work requirements.
"President Obama's vision for America is one of debt and dependency, rather than opportunity and prosperity. Instead of empowering the American people, it's clear the President is more than happy to circumvent Congress and ignore federal law to put more citizens on the public dole, making it harder for them to escape poverty. We already know that, since President Obama took office, the number of able-bodied adults receiving food stamps has doubled. Federal spending on welfare is up more than 40%. Americans don't want something for nothing. Instead, they want to work because hard work is the American way."
This week, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its latest report, confirming the Obama Administration circumvented the legislative process to waive work requirements in the 1996 welfare reform law. The GAO analysis found that the Obama Administration's recent decision to grant itself the authority to waive federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) work requirements qualify as a rule. Therefore, it must be submitted to Congress and is subject to review -- and potential disapproval -- under the Congressional Review Act (CRA). The GAO report also details that HHS previously said unequivocally that no authority exists to waive the work requirements in the 1996 law.
The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 had the following impact on poverty in the United States: The number of individuals receiving welfare dropped by 57%, Poverty among all single mothers fell by 30%, Employment and earnings among single mothers increased significantly.