Liberals are touting an analysis by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) that they say “refutes” arguments against the Obama Administration’s legal authority to waive work requirements. But the funny thing is that, as shoddy as CRS’s analysis may be, it refuses to say that the Administration’s plan is lawful.

A tiny bit of background: The 1996 welfare reform requires that all able-bodied welfare recipients participate in work activities, and it enforces this by (1) cutting benefits for those who refuse to work, and (2) requiring state welfare programs to meet minimum work participation rates for welfare recipients.

Both of these requirements are in section 407. The general requirements for state welfare programs to receive federal funding are in section 402. And then section 1115 authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services to waive requirements in section 402.

In July, the Obama Administration claimed, for the first time ever, that it could waive the work requirements, despite the fact that they’re not in section 402 and there’s no indication that Congress intended for them to be waived in any instance.

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