File this under “irony.” Republicans have routinely slammed the Obama administration for “gutting” welfare reform, but are now working on a bill in the House that could remove welfare’s work requirements. Why the change of heart?
According to the Talking Points Memo, the new legislation, introduced by Representative Virginia Foxx, would allow states to simplify workers’ training by cutting and consolidating redundant programs. Insofar as reform goes, that sounds like a start. The problem for the GOP base? The bill could remove work requirements from the 1996 welfare law, as they “may no longer apply,” according to a memo released by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.
Specifically, the bill will allow states to consolidate programs with the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families welfare program into one Workforce Investment Fund. This means, “TANF program requirements (e.g., work requirements) may no longer apply to that portion of funding because the TANF funding would not exist,” as per the language of the CRS memo.
The bill has cleared a major committee and is co-sponsored by six Republicans. Notes Newser, the new legislation proposed by Republicans sounds similar to President Obama’s own welfare reform legislation, itself an overturning of Bill Clinton’s reform programs of the 90s. This plan, which would remove the work requirement, has received criticism from Republicans, and has been the target of attacks by GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.
“Under Obama’s plan, you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job. They just send you your welfare check,” a Romney attack ad says. Thus, “welfare to work goes back to being plain old welfare.”
What do you think? Are Republicans being hypocrites or is the new welfare reform legislation a sign of compromise? Sound off!