Letter: Reinstate Welfare Work Requirements

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Representative Dave Camp (R-MI) have written a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius denouncing the undermining of the 1996 welfare reforms by waiving work requirements for welfare recipients. The HHS announced last week that it was encouraging states to provide “waivers” to such requirements in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.

In 1996, the Republican-led Congress – inspired by the great work of Robert Rector of The Heritage Foundation – forced President Clinton to accept sweeping welfare reforms that resulted in record numbers of welfare recipients leaving the government’s dole and getting themselves out of poverty. To undo those reforms – primarily the work requirement – now will ensure that millions will be discouraged from ending their dependence on the federal government and will in turn hurt our economy. Sen. Hatch and Rep. Camp understand this, and contend that such waivers are not even allowed under the 1996 reforms:

“Simply put, if Congress had intended to allow waivers of TANF work requirements, it would have said so in the statute. Instead, Congress did the opposite and explicitly prohibited waivers to section 407 work requirements, among other sections of the Social Security Act.”

The 1996 welfare reforms promoted work and higher earnings among those receiving government help. By executive fiat, HHS has completely undermined those reforms with this latest decision, continuing their streak of harmful rules that hurt our economy and limit our freedoms.

Sen. Hatch and Rep. Camp should be commended for taking on this important issue and standing up not only for the taxpayers providing welfare, but also for those on welfare who are struggling to get back on their feet.

Please Share Your Thoughts