RUSH: Barack Obama yesterday or the day before maybe (the days run together) gutted warfare reform. He just wrote it out of existence. He wrote out the work requirements for welfare. It’s gone, with an executive command to Health and Human Services, Department of Labor, and whatever departments.
RUSH: Yesterday the Obama administration issued a new directive stating that the traditional work requirements of the new welfare reform law back in 1996, those new work requirements, can be waived or overridden by a legal device called a waiver authority under the Social Security law. Welfare reform has been gutted, ladies and gentlemen.
That’s right. While everybody’s worried about who the vice presidential nominee is gonna be and whether or not the nominee’s pro-life, pro-choice, pro-Martian, everybody is worried about whether Mitt Romney left Bain Capital in 1999 or 1998 or 2001, Barack Obama continues his systematic dismantling of the private sector economy of the United States of America. After this move, if anybody thinks that the attack on the way this country was founded is simply accidental, you can’t.
This is from the Heritage Foundation, Robert Rector, who has been at Heritage probably longer than Obama’s been alive. Bob Rector. He’s done some of the best work on poverty in this country as compared to poverty around the world. If you have taken my advice and become a Heritage member, you need to search and absorb some of the work of Bob Rector, R-e-c-t-o-r. Kiki Bradley also helped put together this report: “Obama Guts Welfare Reform.” It’s from yesterday.
“The Obama Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released an official policy directive rewriting the welfare reform law of 1996.” The welfare reform law of 1996 was put together in Congress, where all laws are put together. Bill Clinton vetoed it two or three times. Finally, he signed it as part of his need to get reelected in 1996. And when he signed it, finally, a bunch of Democrats, led by the Reverend Jackson, demanded that he change it after the election. But he didn’t. It was left intact. It has been working. It requires work or an attempt to work in order to qualify for welfare payments.
“The new policy guts the federal work requirements that were the foundation of the reform law. The Obama directive bludgeons the letter and intent of the actual reform legislation. Welfare reform replaced the old Aid to Families with Dependent Children.” That was the program where a mother got paid for every child she had, whether the husband was around or not. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred the husband wasn’t around. The federal government became the husband and the provider. It became profitable to have babies and it was a program out of control. Welfare reform fixed it, and AFDC became welfare reform. The actual name of the welfare reform law is Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. TANF is the acronym.
“The underlying concept of welfare reform was that able-bodied adults should be required to work or prepare for work as a condition of receiving welfare aid. The welfare reform law is often characterized as simply giving state governments more flexibility in operating welfare programs. This is a serious misunderstanding. While new law (the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996) did grant states more flexibility in some respects, the core of the act was the creation of rigorous new federal work standards that state governments were required to implement.
“The welfare reform law was very successful. In the four decades prior to welfare reform, the welfare caseload never experienced a significant decline. But, in the four years after welfare reform, the caseload dropped by nearly half.” It worked. Half of people on welfare, AFDC, which then became TANF, dropped out of the program. Employment surged. You had to find work to stay on welfare. You had to try to find work to stay on welfare. You had to work, and it worked. Employment surged. “Child poverty,” Rector’s special area of expertise, “child poverty among affected groups plummeted. The driving force behind these improvements was the rigorous new federal work requirements contained in the TANF law.”
Half of the welfare caseload dropped in four years. It worked. Obama can’t abide that. We don’t want people off of welfare in this regime. We don’t want people leaving the welfare rolls. Those are voters that are getting away. We want more people in the welfare rolls. We’re gonna advertise food stamps. We’re gonna have food stamp parties, and I’m gonna do all this while asking everybody to worry about what Mitt Romney’s doing with his money.
So how did Obama do this? What was the trick? “The Obama Administration issued a new directive stating that the traditional TANF work requirements can be waived or overridden by a legal device called the section 1115 waiver authority under the Social Security law (42 U.S.C. 1315). Section 1115 states that ‘the Secretary may waive compliance with any of the requirements’ of specified parts of various laws. But this is not an open-ended authority: Any provision of law that can be waived under section 1115 must be listed in section 1115 itself. The work provisions of the TANF program are contained in section 407 (entitled, appropriately, ‘mandatory work requirements’). Critically, this section, as well as most other TANF requirements, are deliberately not listed in section 1115; they are not waiveable.”
I hope this is not too hard to follow. You start throwing numbers out, people get confused. Basically the people that wrote the law suspected that future administrations might try to play tricks and waive the work requirements, so they said the only thing that could be waived is in this section. Well, they did not put the work requirement in that section. So the law says that the work requirements cannot be waived. Yet Obama did it yesterday. That’s right, “In establishing TANF, Congress deliberately exempted or shielded nearly all of the TANF program from the section 1115 waiver authority. They did not want the law to be rewritten at the whim of Health and Human Services (HHS) bureaucrats. Of the roughly 35 sections of the TANF law, only one is listed as waiveable under section 1115. This is section 402. Section 402 describes state plans — reports that state governments must file to HHS describing the actions,” and then it gets into a bunch of bureaucratese.
The welfare reform law became a blank slate. This new Obama dictate asserts that because the work requirements are mentioned as an item that state governments have to report, all the work requirements can be waived. It’s not the law. That’s just their lawless interpretation of it. And their lawless interpretation removes the core of welfare reform. Welfare reform thus becomes a blank piece of paper, blank slate that Health and Human Services bureaucrats and liberal state bureaucrats can rewrite at their own will, like Obamacare is.
“In a December 2001 document, ‘Welfare Reform Waivers and TANF,’ the non-partisan Congressional Research Service clarified that the limited authority to waive state reporting requirement in section 402 does not grant authority to override work and other major requirements. … In the past, state bureaucrats have attempted to define activities –” and I’m not making this up. In order to get around the law — this is what liberals have done in order to get around the welfare reform law, which requires work, liberal “state bureaucrats have attempted to define activities such as hula dancing, attending Weight Watchers, and bed rest as ‘work.’ These dodges were blocked by the federal work standards. Now that the Obama Administration has abolished those standards, we can expect ‘work’ in the TANF program to mean anything but work.”
And so what happened yesterday, “The new welfare dictate issued by the Obama Administration clearly guts the law. The Administration tramples on the actual legislation passed by Congress and seeks to impose its own policy choices — a pattern that has become all too common in this Administration. The result is the end of welfare reform.” It’s over. Have you seen it reported anywhere? Have you seen the media even celebrating it? Have you seen any Democrat go on television and talk about, “Hey, guess what? We have reformed welfare reform and we’ve taken the work requirement out.” Have you seen this story on this at all? You haven’t. It’s not part of the narrative.
The narrative is what’s Romney doing with his money. The narrative is when did Romney leave Bain. The narrative is Romney is a felon. The narrative is Condoleezza Rice, who’s pro-choice, gonna be Romney’s VP. All the while those diversions are going on, the Barack Obama administration is gutting at every opportunity they have the basic foundations and fiber of this country. While they’re out there spreading this class warfare and class envy business, that you’re poor because he’s not, he’s only rich because he’s taken what you had, and we’re gonna punish him by raising his taxes, and so you’ll feel be, all this class warfare stuff. While all that’s going on, Barack Obama gutted welfare reform and basically said all you have to do is sit on your ass and we’ll now call that work, and you qualify for welfare. That happened yesterday.
RUSH: I thought Barack Obama liked work. I thought Barack Obama was out there talking about trying to create jobs, folks. I thought Barack Obama’s number one priority was finding a way to keep jobs in this country from being outsourced, and he was going out and he was the expert! “Barack Obama, he’s the one that knows how to create jobs in this country.” Here he is gutting welfare reform!
I thought, by the way, that Barack Obama — prior to the Supreme Court decision on health care — was out there intimidating the justices. He was telling them that they had no business overturning a law passed by “the duly-elected representatives of the people.” Do I remember that right? I have that right. Obama, along with Patrick Leahy, were threatening John Roberts and threatening the justices: “You do not overturn laws passed by the duly-elected representatives of the people!”
And Obama himself just went in there and writes an executive order and guts welfare reform. Mr. Job Creation! Mr. Jobs! No, they didn’t call it anything. There wasn’t any announcement. They just did it! Now, Romney has responded to Obama’s gutting of welfare reform. Romney said, quote, “President Obama now wants to strip the established work requirements form of welfare.
“The success of bipartisan welfare reform passed under President Clinton has rested on the obligation to work. The president’s action is completely misdirected. Work is a dignified endeavor. The linkage of work and welfare is essential to prevent welfare from becoming a way of life.” Well, that’s kind of whispering in a crowd, but he still said something about it. But you ought to turn it into an ad. Turn this into an ad and let everybody know what happened. Half of the welfare rolls…
Let me put it another way: The welfare rolls were reduced by 50% in four years with the passage of welfare reform. Half of the people on welfare found work in the first four years. And yesterday Obama guts it. Mr. Jobs. Mr. Work. Mr. Worried About Outsourcing. Mr. American Dream talking about working hard and getting someplace in life is what his administration’s all about. All Obama wanted to do was double government dependency, which he’s done.