Coalition Calls on Congress to Stop President Obama's Dismantling of Welfare Reform
Today, the Cost of Government Center was joined by 31 strong voices in the center-right movement urging Congress to stop the White House's attempt to roll back work requirements for welfare. The Obama Administration announced recently that it would waive the work requirements implemented in the successful welfare reform of the 1990s. The letter sent to the hill today warns this will increase already explosive spending on welfare programs and further hamper economic recovery. From the letter:
The welfare reform of the 1990s earned bipartisan support and successfully lowered welfare rolls, getting people off of government assistance and back to work. Stripping the TANF program of its work requirements represents a huge step backwards in these major efforts to transform the federal welfare state.
Before reform in 1996, states were awarded more federal money for increasing caseloads. The promise of more federal cash clearly incentivized states to keep people on welfare. Replacing these metrics with ones that encouraged states to move people off of their welfare rolls was a critical part of the cost-savings and increased success of the program; welfare rolls were reduced by nearly two-thirds after the reforms were implemented.
As a result, spending decreased dramatically. The decade after reform was implemented saw welfare spending fall by a third. In contrast, welfare spending as a whole has exploded in the post-“stimulus” Obama-Pelosi-Reid world; taxpayers are now on the hook for over $700 billion a year to pay for nearly 80 federal assistance programs, according to the Heritage Foundation.
The Obama Administration’s attempt to waive work requirements for the TANF program will grow the welfare state further. By waiving work requirements, the administration would turn on its head the incentives instituted in the 1996 reform, and again begin encouraging states to increase their welfare caseloads.
We urge your colleagues in both chambers to support the resolution to disapprove of the Obama Administration’s dismantling of the welfare reform law of 1996. Support for this resolution shows that lawmakers know the solutions for the economy should champion American workers, not discourage them.
For a copy of the letter in its entirety, click here.
The letter is signed by: 60 Plus Association, Advance Arkansas Institute, American Commitment, American Conservative Union, Americans for Tax Reform, Blue Grass Institute, Cascade Policy Institute, Center for Freedom and Prosperity, Center for Individual Freedom, Citizen Outreach, Coalition for Citizens Against Government Waste, Committee for Justice, Competitive Enterprise Institute, The Conservative Caucus, Conservative HQ, Cost of Government Center, Faith and Freedom Coalition, Florida Center-Right Coalition, Frontiers of Freedom, Heritage Action for America, Hispanic Leadership Fund, Independent Women's Voice, Institute for Policy Innovation, Less Government, Let Freedom Ring, Professor Ken Blackwell, the Maine Heritage Policy Center, National Taxpayers Union, Pelican Institute for Public Policy, Renewing America Leadership Action, Tea Party Nation, and the Weyrich Lunch