“Welfare” Waivers

So there has been a lot of discussion online about an ad series from Mitt Romney about how President Obama wants to end welfare-to-work programs and “just send welfare recipients a check”.

The liberal media says Romney and his campaign and Republicans are lying. The mainstream media has not really weighed in. The right-wing media agrees with Romney.

I went and looked at the relevant documentation. Romney is lying. Period.

First, the law about “welfare” is called Temporary Aid for Needy Families (TANF). The Department of Human Services granted a request from a number of state governers to allow the states to experiment with the TANF regulations. HHS published guidance for the waiver evaluation process. The guidance is here.

The Social Security law is where TAFN is authorized and controlled. Section 402 talks about which states are eligible for getting funds from the federal government, and requires states to submit a plan to HHS for approval of how they would administer TANF. The waiver guidance specifies that state experimentation is solely with Section 402.

This is where the Republicans are hanging their hats about Obama “doing away with work requirements”. It’s BULLCRAP.

First of all, the waiver guidance has this very specific language in it:

“HHS will only consider approving waivers relating to the work participation requirements that make changes intended to lead to more effective means of meeting the work goals of TANF.”

“…HHS is committed to ensuring that any demonstration projects approved under this authority will be focused on improving employment outcomes…”

“The Secretary will not approve a waiver for an initiative that appears substantially likely to reduce access to assistance or employment for needy families.”

Another part of this: NOTHING HAS BEEN CHANGED. The states have the opportunity to submit waiver requests, but have not yet. The language cited above is clear that the intent of the waiver requests is to increase the ability to move people from TANF to work.

It’s pretty clear that either Romney and the Republicans are lying, or they can’t read. I’m leaning towards they are lying.

Romney doesn’t have (to my knowledge) a plan to move people from TANF to work. Gingrich talks a lot about people on food stamps. I’ve noted numerous instances over the past couple years about Republican lies. The entire party has lost the moral authority to govern.

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