House Votes to Reverse Obama’s Gutting of Welfare’s Work Requirements

This afternoon, the House voted to restore the work requirements that the Obama Administration has attempted to gut from the 1996 welfare reform law. The breakdown: 250 Republicans voted for restoration and 164 Democrats voted against the resolution.

The 1996 reform inserted work requirements into the largest federal cash assistance welfare program, replacing the old Aid to Families with Dependent Children program with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The law was not only very popular, but it also worked: Stagnant welfare rolls declined by half within five years of the law’s implementation, employment among welfare recipients soared, and child poverty rates declined to their lowest levels in history.

However, since the law was put into place, liberals have attempted to eliminate the work requirement. Not able to accomplish this goal through the legislative process, the Obama Administration is now attempting to do so through executive fiat. In July, the Administration released a directive from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announcing that states would be able to waive the law’s work requirements.



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