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

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. HERGER. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.J. Res. 118 because I believe Congress must act to preserve a principle that has helped lift millions of American families out of poverty. The principle is simple: Able-bodied welfare recipients should engage in work. And we know for a fact, based on the success of welfare reform, that this principle works. More than sixteen years of strong work requirements have demonstrated that a job and a paycheck--not a government check--is the best escape from the clutches of poverty and the best hope of building a better life.

Unfortunately, the Obama Administration has announced its intention to allow states to opt out of these requirements. I believe Congress must emphatically reject this plan. We must refuse to go down a path that leads us back to a sad and painful time in our history where millions of American families were trapped in a cycle of poverty and dependency. This is the stark choice we have before us today.

The Administration's plan is egregious on process as well as substance. By blatantly going beyond their statutory authority, the Administration's action fits into a growing and disturbing pattern of this President disregarding the law and acting unilaterally to override laws duly enacted by Congress. We cannot stand by and allow the executive branch to trample on the Constitutional authority of this body, which has the sole power to legislate.

Given these concerns, I urge my colleagues to support this resolution of disapproval and reject the Administration's misguided attempt to undermine the hope of prosperity for millions of American families eager to support themselves economically. Mr. Speaker, let us reaffirm the principle that, far more effectively than any government program, work places the American people on the path to self-sufficiency and prosperity.

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