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Providing for Consideration of House Joint Resolution 118, Disapproving Rule Relating to Waiver and Expenditure Authority with Respect to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program; Providing for Consideration of H.R. 3409, Stop the War on Coal Act of 2012; and Providing for Proceedings During the Period from September 22, 2012, Through November 12, 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. DOGGETT. Mr. Speaker, as one who believes in the value of work, I voted for the 1996 law to transform welfare to workfare. Now as the ranking Democrat on the subcommittee overseeing this law, I want to strengthen reform and assure that every able-bodied American who can work is working, you know, people like Mitt Romney's father, who long ago was on a form of welfare himself before he became wealthy. Those are the kind of people that should be working.

Unfortunately, Republicans talk work for everyone else, but when it comes to doing the work here in Congress, well, they don't quite measure up to it.

It's just like the expired Federal education law. They have been in power here for over 20 months, and we wouldn't need any changes or waivers in the law if they'd done their job to renew workfare.

The real question here is not whether we emphasize work but how, how we achieve the most effective ways to get more people working.

This administration has simply responded to Republican Governors and some Democrats who are seeking more flexibility and less bureaucratic paperwork, who sought better ways to get more people working.

Even the Republican staff director who wrote the original 1996 reform law and who recently surveyed 42 State TANF directors says that these Republican attacks are ``exaggerated.''

So, why in the world would Republicans be here today, when there is so much other work that this Congress has failed to do, presenting what is really an antiwork resolution masquerading as prowork?

Well, I think it's because particularly during this week, such a very difficult and troubling week for Mitt Romney, they're a little desperate. They think they can hoodwink enough Americans to turn on their neighbors by falsely dividing us--dividing us between makers and takers, between manufacturers and moochers, between producers and parasites. That is not America.

Whenever they bump into an inconvenient fact like what actually is involved in this legislation, they just ignore it. They have made this Congress largely a fact-free zone.

When confronted with reality, they hold up those signs that say ``believe.'' They left a word off. It really should say ``make believe,'' because that's what's at stake here, the fantasy that they bring us on all aspects of this measure. Fantasy is a mighty poor way to govern America.


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