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Clinton-era welfare reform is gutted by administration

“President Obama just tore up a basic foundation of the welfare contract,” Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, said in a statement following the action of Health and Human Services Sec. Kathleen Sebelius that literally gutted the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program (TANF). He also called the move a “blatant violation of the law.”

The law was a signature reform of the welfare program under the administration of President William Jefferson Clinton that was signed in the Oval Office in 1996.

Mitt Romney responded to the administration’s move, stating: “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.”

The number of people on TANF has decreased dramatically following President Clinton’s signing of the welfare reform bill. Roughly 4 million people are still enrolled according to federal figures.

Republican Rep. Dave Camp, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee ranking Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch have asked Secretary Sebelius to explain her action.

One would certainly have to question the administration’s motives in voiding welfare reform that gave assistance to men and women searching for work rather than remaining on welfare. With this action, speculation is circulating that the measure is an attempt to lock up welfare recipients as Obama supporters before the November election.

If the speculation is correct, one would have to ask: doesn’t the president have enough confidence in his core to believe he already has them in his column?

Keith Hansen

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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