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Mr. REED. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to rise in support of this proposed legislation before us today.
I have been sitting here, listening to the arguments of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, and I've heard conflicting messages. I've heard that this is an irrelevant piece of legislation, that it's not necessary because no one is requesting a waiver, that HHS and the administration have not engaged in a policy that allows waivers to occur; yet in the same breath, in the same argument, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle say, But many Republican Governors are asking for waivers from States in going forward.
The point is: this needs to be clarified. This needs to be firmly stated in our record and in the laws of the land that TANF requires a work requirement for our welfare program.
I am a firm believer in the work requirements as they empower our unemployed, our underemployed--the folks who need it the most--to have the skill sets and the resources to put them back to work for generations to come so as to take care of their children and the people who are below them in regards to their needs.
What I would say is any effort to send a conflicting message that somehow waivers are an acceptable policy should be fought on both sides of the aisle and rejected. That's why this legislation is necessary, and it is also necessary to get the reauthorization in place so that we can set the stage for a comprehensive, vigorous debate on welfare reform at the end of this 9-month reauthorization that this legislation does.
So I encourage my colleagues, this is not about a Presidential election; this is about firm, solid policy when it comes to our welfare rolls in America. This is about giving people the tools to get back to work, and that work under the welfare program makes sense and is good, sound policy. I urge my colleagues to join with us and support this reauthorization.
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