Today, the House of Representatives passed H.J. Res 118, a resolution disapproving of the Obama Administration's effort to circumvent Congress and waive state welfare work participation requirements, which have been critical to the success of the bipartisan welfare reform law enacted in 1996. This legislation passed the House by a bipartisan vote of 250 to 164 and will prevent the Administration from allowing states to waive work requirements in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program.
"For more than 15 years, the work requirements in the welfare reform law, which I supported in 1996, have helped move millions of Americans out of poverty and away from government assistance and into jobs," said Congressman Doc Hastings, a cosponsor of the bill. "The fact that this Administration is once again trying to go around Congress to legislate its own agenda is unacceptable. Today's vote will preserve successful welfare reforms and will ensure those receiving government assistance continue to follow the work requirements in the law."
Following the enactment of the 1996 welfare reform legislation, the number of individual receiving welfare dropped by 57 percent and poverty among single mothers was reduced by 30 percent.
On July 12, 2012 the Department of Health and Human Services released a memorandum expressing its intent to change current policy and grant states waivers of work requirements for welfare recipients. Under current law, states must ensure that half of the participants in the TANF program are working or enrolled in workforce programs. In September, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office said the Administration's decision to issue welfare work requirement waivers was subject to the Congressional Review Act and would need approval from Congress.