ATR and COGC Urge Support of Resolutions to Block Reversal of Successful Welfare Reforms
Today, Americans for Tax Reform and the Cost of Government Center sent a letter to Senator Hatch and Congressmen Kline, Camp and Jordan in support of their resolutions to block the Obama Administration’s attempts to undo the successful welfare reform of the 1990s by removing the work requirement for participants:
We write to urge support of your resolutions to block the Obama Administration’s attempts to erase the successful welfare reform enacted in the 1990s. The Administration’s claim that it has the authority to undo improvements made years ago to federal assistance programs should leave taxpayers wondering why a President committed to economic recovery would take such decisive steps to discourage employment.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently attested that the President’s effort to unilaterally claw back welfare requirements qualifies as a rule that must be first reviewed by Congress. This executive power grab not only represents a total disregard for honest and transparent governance, but a step backwards in improving federal welfare spending.
The Administration’s claim that it intends to increase state flexibility by allowing waivers of the essential work requirements in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program is patently false. The solution for fixing the broken, one-size-fits-all approach to federal welfare spending lies in allowing states to target funds to most effectively serve their needy populations. The administration would instead reintroduce metrics that promote larger caseloads and less effective welfare spending.
The only “flexibility” the waivers would extend to states is that to redefine the definition of “work.” Absent federal guidelines, states could dictate any activity qualifies as “work,” further disincetivizing participants from actively seeking employment.
What’s more, the administration would grant waivers only on the basis that states move 20 percent more enrollees to work. This is easily achieved by increasing caseloads, not increasing employment. Changing the standard to focus on persons exiting the program, rather than entering it, encourages states to expand their welfare populations while claiming they are doing the opposite.
According to the Heritage Foundation, the nearly 80 federal work assistance programs cost taxpayers over $700 billion each year. The social safety net has turned into a full-blown welfare state. Unraveling bipartisan reform that has been critical in stemming the tide of wasteful assistance spending is indefensible for any policymaker serious about economic recovery. We urge your colleagues in both chambers to support your resolutions that would stop the Administration’s attempt to undermine welfare reform.
Americans for Tax Reform
Cost of Government Center