|Date||September 20, 2012 (112th Congress, 2nd Session)|
|Staff Contact||Lisa Collins|
On Thursday, September 20, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider H.J.Res. 118, a joint resolution relating to congressional disapproval of the rule relating to waiver authority with respect to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. The rule for consideration of the resolution provides for one hour of general debate with 30 minutes equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on Ways and Means and 30 minutes equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce. H.J.Res. 118 was introduced by Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) on September 11, 2012, and was referred to the House Committees on Ways and Means and Education and the Workforce, which both held markups on September 13, 2012, and ordered the joint resolution reported favorably to the full House.
The resolution would express Congress’ disapproval of the Obama administration’s regulatory effort to weaken work requirements contained in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. The resolution would also prevent the administration from implementing its rule that would waive the work requirements of the 1996 welfare reform law, and thus preserve critical reforms that have helped lift millions of American families out of poverty.
Sixteen years ago, a Republican-led Congress worked with a Democratic President to fix a broken welfare system. Under the old system, 65 percent of families were dependent on welfare for an average of eight years or more, and individuals obtained welfare benefits for an average of 13 years throughout the course of a lifetime. Due to a lack of focus on work, failed welfare policies left families trapped in a cycle of dependency and poverty.
In response, Congress passed and President Clinton signed into law the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PL 104-193). The law replaced the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program with the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant program. The bipartisan law promoted work as a central focus of helping low-income families achieve self-sufficiency. Individuals were required to work, prepare for work, or look for work as a condition of receiving public assistance.
Despite moving millions of Americans off government dependency and into a job, welfare reform is now under attack from the Obama administration. A memorandum released on July 12, 2012 by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) allows states to seek a waiver from the work requirements central to the success of welfare reform. This resolution would block the administration from implementing its controversial waiver scheme.
For more information on the President's attempt to weaken TANF work requirements, click here.
According to CBO, enacting the resolution would reduce direct spending by $59 million over the 2013-2022 period.