Instead of passing new laws the Obama administration just unilaterally redoes the law itself: This time welfare reform
. . . Republicans are accusing the Obama administration of unilaterally gutting welfare reform after the Department of Health and Human Services quietly notified states that they may seek a waiver for the program's strict work requirements.Meanwhile, the Obama administration finally is stopping its "go on food stamps" ads.
HHS made the announcement in a policy memo Thursday, news that slipped well below the radar amid a raucous day on the presidential campaign trail. But a few prominent GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill picked up on the change, and accused the administration of overhauling one of the most important bipartisan agreements of the past several decades.
"President Obama just tore up a basic foundation of the welfare contract" Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, D-Ohio, said in a statement. He also called the move a "blatant violation of the law."
Mitt Romney on Friday spoke up on the change, saying: "President Obama now wants to strip the established work requirements from welfare." He said "the linkage of work and welfare is essential to prevent welfare from becoming a way of life."
How exactly the HHS change will play out is unclear. In Thursday's policy directive, the department said the states may seek a waiver from the work component of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program, in order to "test alternative and innovative strategies, policies and procedures that are designed to improve employment outcomes for needy families." . . . But HHS is suddenly allowing for more flexibility in a program known -- and in many circles, lauded -- for its rigid framework. . . .
. . . The Spanish-language radio ads composed a 10-part miniseries called "Hope Park." In it, the characters were shown persistently trying to convince a character named "Diana" to go on food stamps -- known these days as SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program -- even though her husband works and she doesn't think she needs it.It would be useful for someone to go through the studies that have looked at the benefits of the welfare reform and to see what the Obama administration is putting at risk.
"I don't need help from anyone," Diana says in Episode 4. "My husband makes enough to take care of us."
But her friends are persistent, and by Episode 10 Diana is enrolled and singing the program's praises.
The ads drew criticism at a time when one in seven are already enrolled.
The food stamp rolls have swelled since the recession, growing roughly 40 percent since 2009. As of April, more than 46 million people were in the program, which costs $80 billion a year.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, slammed the campaign as a push to enroll individuals who don't feel they need it. . . .