Preserving the Welfare Work Requirement and TANF Extension Act of 2013

Floor Speech

By:  Tim Walberg
Date: March 13, 2013
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. WALBERG. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Speaker, welfare work requirements have helped Michiganders and millions of Americans reduce their dependency on government assistance and get back on their feet again, and that's a good thing. And that, for many people, is the American Dream.

In the 1990s, while serving in the Michigan Legislature, I had the privilege of cosponsoring legislation that did this very thing in promoting workfare and edufare that ultimately became, arguably, the pattern for the 1996 Federal reform. It changed lives. We had welfare recipients who were completely reliant on government now given hope. I'll never forget the single-parent mother who was on welfare for most of her adult life and said in a public service announcement that she asked to be involved with, after going on edufare and then workfare, I was angry when I was first approached with this requirement. Now I can only say it changed my life. It not only changed my life in developing self-sufficiency, but it changed my family's life. They know that they can indeed make it on their own.

Those were illustrations that we experienced; and I saw how it worked in Michigan and then later in our country as a whole after the 1996 reforms. Unfortunately, last July, the Obama administration offered guidance that would undermine this requirement. Without consulting Congress, and despite bipartisan support for work requirements, the Department of Health and Human Services began moving forward this agenda. Congress should repeal the HHS's waiver plan and prevent the administration from waiving the work requirements. It's the right thing to do. It's time to move past this waiver debate so we can move forward with building a stronger, sounder TANF program that promotes self-sufficiency and positive action.

Please join me in supporting H.R. 890.


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