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Public Statements

Disapproving Rule Relating to Waiver and Expenditure Authority with Respect to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. GINGREY of Georgia. I thank the gentleman for yielding, and I rise in strong support of H.J. Res. 118.

The Department of Health and Human Services, in July, essentially stripped many of the provisions of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act in regard to TANF, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and they should not do that. They absolutely should not do that.

This resolution, of course, calls for action under the Congressional Review Act--our authority, Mr. Speaker, as Members of Congress to say, no, you cannot do this, HHS, by any kind of executive order, and we are going to challenge it. Because people, sometimes, yes, they do need a little bit of a nudge to get off welfare and onto work; but in the final analysis, these individuals have the pride of having a job. There is nothing that compares to that. And as long as you have that opportunity, I think most individuals--and as I say, some may need a little bit of a nudge--but most people would gladly embrace that opportunity.

So that's what this is all about. We're just simply saying we want to make sure that the provisions--in a very bipartisan way--President Clinton, in agreeing with Congress to have that welfare reform, it was worked out very carefully. We as a Congress will not permit those provisions to be stripped out of welfare to work. So, please, my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, join me in supporting H.J. Res. 118.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.J. Res. 118, a bill expressing Congress's disapproval of the administration's waiving of TANF work requirements.

This legislation would utilize the Congressional Review Act to restore the welfare to work requirements of the 1996 welfare reform law that the Department of Health and Human Services unilaterally stripped in July. When President Clinton signed welfare reform into law, he said, ``First and foremost, it should be about moving people from welfare to work.'' Mr. Speaker, the administration has absolutely no justification to waive the reforms required by this bipartisan law.

Welfare to work requirements have proven to lower poverty levels, increase earnings, and reduce government dependence. This legislation will restore the reforms that are an integral part of helping people become independent and self-sufficient.

Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support H.J. Res. 118 because we cannot allow the Administration to roll back key features of the 1996 reforms.

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