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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. CONNOLLY of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, is it possible that I missed some fundamental shift in philosophy during the Republican Convention last month? I thought my Republican colleagues actually favored states' rights and empowering our governors. I thought my Republican colleagues wanted to eliminate ``job killing'' government regulations. I thought my Republicans colleagues were focused on the economy and putting people back to work.

Well, the Obama Administration's proposal to grant waivers to states under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program would do those very things. It will reduce some of the more burdensome regulations associated with TANF, it will provide states with the flexibility they have been seeking to pursue more innovative strategies, and it will set a standard requiring participating states to move 20% MORE people from welfare to work.

That sounds like a JOBS bill to me ..... and a bipartisan one no less. Republican governors from Utah and Nevada recently requested these waivers, and 29 Republican Governors, including Governor Romney, have sought this kind of flexibility in the past. If that weren't enough, some of my Republican colleagues even voted to grant similar waivers when they were proposed by fellow Republicans in 2002, 2003 and 2005.

So why then are my Republican colleagues not supporting this common-sense, bipartisan proposal? Because it undermines their election-year narrative for attacking the President--a narrative on this very issue that multiple fact checkers have labeled as bogus.

This resolution of disapproval is nothing more than an exercise in crass political cynicism. If my Republican colleagues were serious about helping the economy, we'd be celebrating this as a bipartisan accomplishment that will put more people back to work. Instead they will vote against their own principles just to deny this President any semblance of a victory ..... even if it means keeping people out of work. You know, I had a friend who once said, ``If you're going to be a phony, at least be sincere about it.'' No wonder the American people view this Republican Congress with such disdain. I urge my colleague to reject this resolution.


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