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Four Facts About Today’s Vote to Preserve Key Welfare Reforms

Today the House will consider a joint resolution disapproving of the Obama administration’s attempt to undermine welfare reform. Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) joined Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) and Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) in introducing H.J.Res. 118 to block this latest example of executive overreach and preserve policies that have helped millions of low-income families.

Here are four facts about today’s vote on H.J.Res. 118:

Fact #1. The resolution protects bipartisan reforms that have successfully helped families in need. For the first time in our nation’s history, the 1996 welfare reform law promoted work as an essential component to helping low-income families achieve self-sufficiency. The results exceeded expectations: The number of individuals on welfare dropped by 57 percent; poverty among single-mothers fell 30 percent; black children living in poverty dropped to its lowest level in 2001. These facts point toward successful policies that should be strengthened through future bipartisan cooperation, not unilaterally weakened through executive fiat.

Fact #2. The resolution reins in the president’s unlawful and unprecedented waiver scheme. The welfare reform law provides limited and explicit waiver authority to the administration. Nowhere does that waiver authority include the law’s work requirements. According to the Government Accountability Office, no administration has ever granted a waiver of the work requirements – until now. In fact, the Department of Health and Human Services has previously denied requests by states to waive the work requirements citing its lack of authority to grant such a waiver.

Fact #3. The resolution demonstrates the right of Congress to review the president’s welfare waiver rule. Not only does the administration lack the legal authority to grant waivers of the welfare work requirements, it is trying to advance its controversial waiver scheme through an end run around Congress. The Government Accountability Office has declared the administration’s waiver plan is a rule under the Congressional Review Act and must be submitted to Congress for review. However, the Obama administration has refused to follow even this basic legal process.

Fact #4. The resolution stops a flawed rule that will lead to more government dependency. Before the 1996 welfare reform law, many families were trapped in a cycle of dependency and poverty. Individuals in need of assistance spent an average of 13 years on welfare. By undermining the centerpiece of welfare reform, the president’s waiver plan will unwind the progress we’ve made in moving families off welfare and into the workforce. Recent reports on food stamps provide a startling warning. After President Obama suspended the work requirements in the food stamp program, the number of able-bodied adults receiving food stamps doubled.

The facts are clear: today’s vote on this important resolution will protect policies that have helped millions of families in need and rein in the president’s unlawful executive overreach.

To learn more about H.J.Res. 118, click here.

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