On Thursday, the administration sent a letter to all states that…wait a minute…the President cannot repeal a law, only Congress can. Let me begin again. “Obama overturns Clinton’s welfare reform law”.
On Thursday, the administration sent a letter to all states that…wait a minute…the President cannot overturn a federal law, only the federal courts can.
Having no constitutional place to turn, let me tell you what happened.
Under the 1996 law [signed by President Clinton], states are required to document the number of hours that welfare recipients spend in paid jobs, voluntary work or other activities directly related to finding employment. States can lose federal funding for their welfare programs if they don’t meet targets for recipients’ participation in these activities.
States can now opt out of the requirements…at least the “work” requirements if they can propose an alternative to actually “working”, or actively seeking work.
On Thursday, the Department of Health and Human Services sent states a letter saying they could get a federal waiver to those rules if they proposed better ways to help recipients find permanent, well-paid jobs.
It is anyone’s guess what a state could propose “to help recipients find permanent, well-paid jobs” other than requiring part-time jobs for welfare recipients, and job training for welfare recipients, which, of course, is already the law.
Apparently, the administration is not happy with either of those two requirements.
Curiously, the absence of those two requirements in our then existing welfare program caused President Clinton to sign the law in the first place.