U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, issued a statement Thursday applauding a House committee’s passage of a resolution condemning the Obama administration’s “July 12, 2012 Waiver of Welfare Work Requirements.” It neatly dovetails with the (false) narrative Mitt Romney has been peddling for weeks that the Obama administration is seeking to curry favor and generate votes by cutting all those welfare queens some slack and allowing them to slump back into their couches with a box of donuts to surf cable all day. And collect, collect, collect them gub’ment checks. And make babies.
Boustany’s full statement:
The best way out of poverty is to have and maintain a job. Many Americans across the nation believing those with the ability to work should to receive federal benefits. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced states may waive the welfare work requirement by changing the definition of ‘work’ under current law.The resolution Boustany praises actually challenges the administration’s constitutional authority to cut a deal with the states over the work requirements, which is a valid position in its way. Although the Government Accountability Office has said that the administration should have had the waiver proposal vetted by Congress first, the GAO also noted the White House has the legal authority to work with the states and was acting within precedent.
Before Congress passed welfare reform, states counted activities such as bed rest, journaling, and motivational reading as work according to the Government Accountability Office. The HHS decision weakens the minimum requirements that people work in exchange for federal benefits. Yet again, we see another example of President Obama overreaching his constitutional authorities for political gain.
While the Romney campaign has falsely claimed work requirements have already been dropped, the requirements remain in place. In July, the administration said it would consider waiving some federal rules if states had ideas for “demonstration projects” that could improve employment outcomes for beneficiaries. Several states — including two with Republican governors — had requested flexibility from requirements in welfare, formally known as the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. No waivers have been issued yet, and the administration insists it would only issue waivers for demonstration projects that put more people to work.What’s funniest in this — we’re not sure ironic is the proper adjective — is that our U.S. House of Representatives is controlled by states’ rights-worshiping Republicans who yap ad nauseam about a too-powerful federal government. So are they effect applauding preventing states from having more flexibility in how they administer a federal program or, to put it another way, ensuring that it’s the federal way or the highway?