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  • Morning Bell: Obama Denies Gutting Welfare Reform

    The Obama Administration came out swinging against its critics on welfare reform yesterday, with Press Secretary Jay Carney saying the charge that the Administration gutted the successful 1996 reform’s work requirements is “categorically false” and “blatantly dishonest.” Even former President Bill Clinton, who signed the reform into law, came out parroting the Obama team’s talking points and saying the charge was “not true.”

    The Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector and Kiki Bradley first broke the story on July 12 that Obama’s Health and Human Services Department (HHS) had rewritten the Clinton-era reform to undo the work requirements, in a move that legal experts Todd Gaziano and Robert Alt determined was patently illegal.

    The Administration’s new argument has two parts: denying the Obama Administration’s actions and claiming that Republican governors, including Mitt Romney, tried to do the same thing. In essence, “We did not do what you’re saying, but even if we did, some Republicans did it, too.” Both parts of this argument are easily debunked.

    Obama Administration Claim #1: We Didn’t Gut Work Requirements

    Ever since the 1996 law passed, Democratic leaders have attempted (unsuccessfully) to repeal welfare’s work standards, blocking reauthorization of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF) and attempting to weaken the requirements. Unable to eliminate “workfare” legislatively, the Obama HHS claimed authority to grant waivers that allow states to get around the work requirements.

    Humorously, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius now asserts that the Administration abolished the TANF work requirements to increase work.

    HHS now claims that states receiving a waiver must “commit that their proposals will move at least 20 percent more people from welfare to work compared to the state’s prior performance.” But given the normal turnover rate in welfare programs, the easiest way to increase the number of people moving from “welfare to work” is to increase the number entering welfare in the first place.

    Bogus statistical ploys like these were the norm before the 1996 reform. The law curtailed use of sham measures of success and established meaningful standards: Participating in work activities meant actual work activities, not “bed rest” or “reading” or doing one hour of job search per month; reducing welfare dependence meant reducing caseloads. Now those standards are gone.

    Obama’s HHS claims authority to overhaul every aspect of the TANF work provisions (contained in section 407), including “definitions of work activities and engagement, specified limitations, verification procedures and the calculation of participation rates.” In other words, the whole work program. Sebelius’s HHS bureaucracy declared the existing TANF law a blank slate on which it can design any policy it chooses.

    Obama Administration Claim #2: Even If We Did, the Republicans Tried It, Too

    Though the Obama Administration is claiming it is not trying to get around the work requirements, it is also claiming that a group of Republican governors tried to do the same thing in 2005. Clinton also said in his statement yesterday that “the recently announced waiver policy was originally requested” by Republican governors.

    Heritage welfare expert Robert Rector addressed this claim back on July 19. As Rector explains:

    But [the governors'] letter makes no mention at all of waiving work requirements under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. In fact, the legislation promoted in the letter—the Personal Responsibility and Individual Development for Everyone (PRIDE) Act—actually would have toughened the federal work standards. It proposed raising the mandatory participation rates imposed on states from 50 percent to 70 percent of the adult TANF caseload and increasing the hours of required work activity.

    The governors’ letter actually contradicts the Administration’s main argument: If the law has always permitted HHS to waive the work requirements, then why didn’t the governors just request waivers from then-President George W. Bush? Why would legislation be needed?

    Two reasons: First, it has been clear for 15 years that the TANF law did not permit HHS to waive the work requirements. Second, the Republican governors were not seeking to waive the work requirements in the first place.

    Obama’s Evolution from Welfare to Work and Back

    President Obama had a convenient change of heart regarding welfare reform when it was time to run for President. In 1998, when he was an Illinois state senator, Obama said:

    I was not a huge supporter of the federal plan that was signed in 1996. Having said that, I do think that there is a potential political opportunity that arose out of welfare reform. And that is to desegregate the welfare population—meaning the undeserving poor, black folks in cities, from the working poor—deserving, white, rural as well as suburban.

    The same year, he reiterated that “the 1996 legislation I did not entirely agree with and probably would have voted against at the federal level.”

    But in 2008, when he was running for President, Obama said he had changed his mind about welfare reform: “I was much more concerned 10 years ago when President Clinton initially signed the bill that this could have disastrous results….It had—it worked better than, I think, a lot of people anticipated. And, you know, one of the things that I am absolutely convinced of is that we have to work as a centerpiece of any social policy.”

    One of his 2008 campaign ads touted “the Obama record: moved people from welfare to work” and promised that as President, he would “never forget the dignity that comes from work.”

    This evolution is unsurprising, considering the vast majority of Americans favor requiring welfare recipients to work.

    President Obama has finally accomplished what Democrats have been trying to do for years. He has even gotten President Clinton to turn his back on one of the signature achievements of his Administration to give him political cover—which Clinton was quick to do. In 1996, Clinton had to compromise and allow the tough work requirements to get the legislation passed.

    Both Presidents have now revealed their true feelings about welfare—and there’s no denying it.

    Quick Hits:

    • “Syrian President Bashar Assad made his first appearance on state TV in nearly three weeks Tuesday in a show of solidarity with a senior Iranian envoy even as the U.S. secretary of state urged stepped up international planning for the regime’s collapse,” reports AP.
    • “A chill is wafting over France’s business class” as President François Hollande is proposing a 75 percent tax rate on successful French taxpayers, reports The New York Times.
    • A NATO worker has been accused of espionage on a U.S. air base.
    • American actor Sean Penn is campaigning for the re-election of Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez.
    • Heritage’s Jessica Zuckerman has the latest on the Department of Homeland Security’s immigration actions, which are eroding the rule of law.
    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    49 Responses to Morning Bell: Obama Denies Gutting Welfare Reform

    1. Mary......WI says:

      More lies and deceptions coming from Obama and this administration!!! He's just looking for more votes….give away "stuff" and you'll always have loyal customers. Let's also remember that he changed the welfare funding requirements without consent of Congress. This person has NO RESPECT for the Constitutiion of the United States of America…..that's why his goal is to fundamentally transform America.
      OBAMA MUST BE VOTED OUT IN NOV.2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    2. Lloyd Scallan says:

      The author Amy again should realize who and what Obama is. But more disturbing is that she does not understand what today's Democrats are and what they are collectively attempting to do to America. These leftist have no honor or moral compass. Does she, as a woman, not remember what Bill Clinton did while in offfice? Does she not remember women like Monica or Juanita, or many others? How can anyone that lived through the "Clinton years" not consider that a man that has no morality would prostitute himself for the sake of the Democratic cause. Amy, I suggest read history to realize what the Democrat Party has become. Then you might be able to understand why Democrats do what they do.

      • bridget says:

        Haha. The democratic party has "no honor" – legitimate rape (akin), or rape as a method of conception (ryan) says otherwise. An extramarital affair is nothing compared to forced pregnancy and sacrificing lives for a collection of cells given "personhood" by old white men in charge. Maybe you should figure out what republicans are collectively doing to american women – its ugly.

    3. Curt Krehbiel says:

      "Both Presidents have now revealed their true feelings about welfare—and there's no denying it."

      Welfare buys votes. And people on welfare know where the feed trough is.

    4. jlb says:

      Obama continues to buy votes with other people's money. First you create a crisis, then you move in with more government and more control as you slowly enslave the citizen. Unemployment, food stamps, health care, welfare, social security, health care, governt jobs; all entangle us with more government and more control. Freedom should never be associated with government. The DNC is much more interested in capturing losers that are dependent upon government than they are in freedom. If you get a government check, you are under the control of the government. Unemployment is wonderful because it creates a larger dependent class. Rising unemployment assures the DNC of greater numbers of losers and more control over those depending upon the government to rescue them-come to the plantation and we will give you rest. This will work because government can create losers much more easily than they can create winners. Winners have already been selected-they are called crony capitalists within the socialist, facist state.

      • Marc DeSalis says:

        Funny you should say Obama's buying votes with other people's money, considering Romney gets hundreds of millions of dollars for his campaign from a few wealthy donors…

        Your government gives you your freedom. Freedom of speech, freedom to bear arms (I'm sure you LOVE that one), the freedom to get an education (at least K-12), to walk around the street safely knowing that there are policemen out there, and the freedom to know that if your house catches on fire, there will be firemen to put it out. Without a government to make all these things happen, there would be NO FREEDOM.

        Also, it's worth mentioning that over half (some say up to 70%) of welfare recipients are employed, but they still fall under the poverty line. That's not their fault. Maybe they couldn't afford higher education, or maybe they work for some multi-millionaire who pays 15% in taxes but pays minimum wage to all his employees in order to make even more millions. Poverty is not a choice, and if you think living on welfare is something people want to do, I'd challenge you to live on less than $400 a month.

        You can't create "winners" by raising rich people's taxes, by cutting education budgets, by waging war on public employees (yes, teachers, policemen and firefighters are included) or by going to war with Iran. That's exactly what Romney wants to do, and for some reason you schmucks are going right along with it.

        God help us if he wins.

        • saveamerica says:

          So what if Romney's donors are honorable. I can't afford to give so thank you to them!! Government tool are you? no education in your own constitution? Government has nothing to do with "giving us freedom for anything, TOOL! They're suppose to protect freedom, not control. Your self reliance is your ability to conduct your individual freedom.

          You can't say "poverty isn't a choice" when the first place to run is government dependency to fulfill whatever you don't want to and anybody getting a taxpayer obligated government subsidized check does it with pride not shame. Free loaders getting their daily nutrients from government handouts aren't the ones in poverty. People FORCED THE TAXES TO PAY FOR THEM ARE! People don't need a higher education to have the independence to provide for themselves, they need initiative. Why would you trust the corruption and it's propensity by government between business and you? If business corrupts you, you get justice. If government corrupts you, you have a long row to hoe if you don't let it go. Nobody's creating winners from the republican party. It was democrats doing the bailing out by picking and choosing business failures, silly. Stop distorting what Romney's going to do. try to keep up with what's going on so you don't deprive yourself the truth.

      • Joseph McKennan says:

        My vote is not for sale at any price. I will take the guillotine before I vote for a communist

    5. Don says:

      how can anyone possibly believe anything coming from this mans mouth period…..he hates american policy, hates anythignto do with actually supporting Isra’el except with lip service,anti-Christian his Obamacare proves that,he is for everyone becoming dependant on the government for everything,he is surrounded by left wing anti-American beaurucrats,shut down gulf for American driling only,refused keystone because it would show thw world we are independent from OPEC,he has secured any of our borders by enforcing the current laws that exist,done nothing to discourage voter fraud because it favors the democrats,do we need anymore…..if this man gets re-elected America is history and that exactly what he is aiming at!!!

    6. John C. Davidson says:

      When our Federal Administration can resort to lying we all know something is very wrong with justice in our nation.

    7. Chunky says:

      It what he did is patently illegal, then why aren't House members doing something about that. Oh, I forgot. Their on vacation.

      • Smitty says:

        They're not doing anything about it because they have not been forced to by the national liberal news media. We all know that the point has almost been reached where there are more people who don't pay income taxes than those who do, so we now know where the political power lies, and it does not exist within the ranks of the people who actually pay for our very flawed political system. The only way that Congress will act is if the news media takes the reins and raises hell, such as they did with the Watergate scandal, ultimately causing Nixon to resign. But, Nixon was a Republican, and no such media spotlight will ever shine on any Democrat who acts even half as egregiously as did Nixon. Take a look at Fast & Furious. NOTHING has been done, even though Obama has refused to divulge his part in the mess (citing executive privilege), and Holder is still in office even though he was held in Contempt by the House of Reps. This is Democracy? Had a Republican administration tried to pull this crap, their would have been riots on the steps of the White House.

        Why would welfare recipients want to put pressure on Congress to turn off their welfare checks? They would be cutting their own throats, so to speak. The sad part is that the taxpayers again take it in the shorts.

      • Canof Sand says:

        Oh shut up. Congress is not SUPPOSED to be a year-round gig. It SHOULDN'T be one. And it will take a new Dept of Justice to prosecute the leftist vermin infesting the system.

      • glynnda says:

        Hey Chunky, what makes you think they would do anything if they were there…..

      • Jumpmaster82 says:

        Because your being lied too and all these people commenting here are just as ignorant of the FACTS as you are. This has been proven to be a lie, ask the GOP Governors who asked for the waivers.
        The Foundry should be ashamed for printing this trash. You know that if this had a n tiny bit of illegality the GOP would be calling for impeachment, but their not, WHY because it's not true!!!!!!

    8. toledofan says:

      It just makes you wonder how anyone with any intelligence can believe anything that comes from this Administration. It's clear, the recent Ohio voter challenge by the Justice department, the Arizona immigration debacle, and a host of other broken laws, that Obama will do whatever it takes to gain votes. Retaining his power is paramount and he cares little about how it happens. I just think that if he's given four more years, well, that's the end of America as we know it, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. No one should live better and have as much as somebody who works to earn what they have, so, giving more for free, to somebody who doesn't want to work is just wrong.

      • Ben C. says:

        Always we said. The smoke and mirrors from Obama will only work fo so long, then the truth becomes visible. I just hope that Romney grows a spine and finds steel balls somewhere to confront the Dictator in Chief.

    9. Sprinklerman says:

      How immature and childish does this sound? How many reporters laughed out loud when Carney said this in the press breifing? It should have been everyone of them.

      Tell me this doesn't sound like a five year old who has been caught doing something that they shouldn't have by a parent…"I didn't do that….but, but, but, Mitt did it too!"

      This also proves the lie believed by athiets that values, morals and ethics can exist in people who don't believe in God. “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” John Adams

      • Jon says:

        History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.
        -Thomas Jefferson to Alexander von Humboldt, Dec. 6, 1813.

    10. Ted Wight says:

      This editorial should be published in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times and other media. To clarify the obfuscational lies of the Obama Administration.

    11. DH Yancey says:

      There will probably be several justices who retire from the Supreme Court during the next four years.
      Since former President Clinton has become such an "ardent" supporter of Mr. Obama's re-election, my guess is that one of the Clintons will receive an appointment to the Supreme Court if Mr. Obama wins.

    12. Jeanne Stotler says:

      When 5 generations have been on welfare, isn't it time to look into why and how?? Most of us face set backs in our lives BUT we pick ourselves up and fight back. my mother was there, my dad died when I was 20 mos. old, no SS in 1934 she went back to school and worked for Gov't until 1956, I was there in 1976 wen my husband died, I went back and finished getting a Nursing degree, I worked until 1995, injury caused my retirement, my children all worked but today 2, who are house painters are finding it difficult to get work, another has been laid off, all thanks to OBAMA's economy, we don't rely on the govermnt, we rely on family to work together and keep fighting and will vote so things get better.

    13. Tom Sullivan says:

      Lying is the backbone of the Obama campaign. They are lying about gutting of the welfare reform of 1996. They will break the law and lie about it when caught. They will buy as many votes as they can. When Romney wins and the economy starts to roar again, maybe more people will get a clue that Democrats are economic catastrophe in party form.

    14. We all tend to forget that "Clinton's success" regarding Welfare reform was the result of a huge Republican landslide victory in the House & he had no choice but to sign the legislation. Basically, he was drug kicking and screaming to the signature table and then" claimed" victory. So of course, now he will side with dismantling a reform he was against in the first place.

    15. Carol, AZ says:

      H.F. you have published three articles this day that fail miserably to enjoin the destruction of our Democracy.
      This leadership has NO moral values, respect , or human dignity for America.
      That was yesterdays' America. These three articles shriek instability and treason with no connection of the obvious.
      The DHS recent action, is a purposeful continuation to destabilizes our National Security. Not to mention this basic blunder has put the USA in certain danger. These actions are treacherous.
      The recent allowances of the welfare pass/go hand-outs feeding stations, and gutting our current laws for welfare without accountability is to {feed away}, the coming danger and the govt 's fear, that rioting won't happen before Nov. All costs for this new directive is forced on State's budgets and most are already broke.
      You and 90% of the press continue to pander with the idea that {somehow}, we'll get away with these lies as we add more Govt feeding station: Our Govt has told us, it's OK, right?
      The true ethos under these lies for: " Hope and Change" once again a cover up, for economic fiscal meltdown. Or was that rumor?

    16. Eric says:

      I was skeptical but after reading the HHS directive, it is clear that HHS has suggested that states should come up with phony programs that involve a waiver of the 402 work requirement. It went out of its way to state that it is permitted to waive the work requirement. There was no reason to single out the work requirement.

    17. glynnda says:

      As far as Mr Clinton's support of this newest illegal move by the administration….please! the man is a whore in every aspect of his life. As far as the move by the president, just another illegal action that can be reversed on January 1, when the new president takes office.

    18. AgentGreen says:

      What I cannot grasp is how any and everything that comes out of the Obama's mouth & White House is given a free pass by every main stream media outlet, and the Obama Zombies swallow everything hook, line, and sinker and believe whatever he says as the Gospel truth!! These idiots won't take a toothpick to dig just a teeny bit beneath the surface to discover that he's a typical lying Chicago scumbag politician. He's nothing more than a bully, using everything he can in Washington DC to get his way, ram thru his agenda regardless of it's legality, and make sure he pays back his union backers and significant campaign contributors (including the campaign money he won't disclose, like how much comes from non-US sources – I wonder if Comrade Chavez gives by cash or check?). The US will be trying to dig out of 10 years of bungling if he's re-elected – his 8 years plus the last 2 years of the Bush administration where Democrats had majorities in the House and Senate. That is, if there's enough of the US we knew left to recognize. Without veto-proof majorities, Republicans are simply p*ssing into the wind by passing bills and sending them to the Senate and/or Obama, where they simply die a quick death.

      • Carol, AZ says:

        I can't answer your excellent question about Comrade Chavez connection to the Obum machine. What Is clear in my State, the O machine has fully supported the war on our border with MX from day one.
        Tragically 60% of all Meth enters through AZ, to you. We lack the man power to stop it since parts of our border is now so dangerous, and off- limits for the protection of our personnel. We as a State DO GRASP the situation and by now all of you understand why we have been in the cross hairs of the O machine form day one. We have spent million here on court costs that should be earmarked for education.
        Banking is being protected and certainly every State in our union is paying out millions in support for illegals' living here and on welfare. The system disallows the clarity to ask," IF your a citizens" in most States" for political correctness. A few State have address this issue, following AZ's ex..
        CA's economy is caving-in because of the mantra of "Sanctuary status.". Sanctuary, safe haven is against the law."( it's a Fed Law) and never spoken about, we utilize it here.

    19. Welfare and charity work best when it is "hand to mouth" giving. If I can physically give someone a helping hand and the person receiving the help can physically see the people who are giving that help or know the people or organization then both the giver and receiver can immediately receive the rewards that come from giving. (recognition, thanks and a sense of self responsibility on both sides) There are no "financial" rewards for giving. If you give money to a charity organization because you get a tax deduction that is not true giving. If the government takes part of your taxes and supports entitlement programs (writing a welfare check and throwing it over the fence to the slaves in our ghettos and slums) and tells you that the people of this country are doing the right thing in their support of people on welfare and food stamps then neither the giver or the receiver appreciates the action of charity.

    20. fedupinky says:

      Sometimes this seems like a never-ending nightmare. I hope we all wake up November 7 and find the nightmare is over. Please vote out this waste of skin that calls himself our President.

    21. M. C says:

      There is another sneaky reason for this illegal act. If these people are no longer looking for work, the unemployment rate appears to go down.

    22. sdfultz says:

      This is the biggest crock of BS, The Foundry has become a rag. The responses found here demonstrate the level that the Foundry has sunk too. This should be called the Heritage inquirer

      • Joseph McKennan says:

        The people who wrote here are victims of Obama's ' leaderership' or will be victims if he has his way. Some how I wish that people like you could have your Obama while the rest of us could live free. When you finally open your eyes it is way too late.

    23. The Truth really will set you free..Both parties are guilty of doing things that is agains the law and illegal..so why is anyone thinking about voting for people who have No Moral Fortitude…shame on them..

    24. Bobbie says:

      Somebody ask Jay Carney "what's categorically false and blatantly dishonest" besides what America is finding out about him and the like minded in control over us? Turn their denial rant on them! Why is the president unconstitutionally increasing government dependency which in more government dependency cases than NOT shows no POVERTY under it's definition?

    25. mikem says:

      another subject,,,did holder skate out of getting arrested for lying to congress?

    26. alexander Ilnyckyj says:

      When will the Republican party ever learn that this marxist is a liar. That is the M.O. of the marxist theory, lie until it becomes the truth and that's what this marxist/dictator is all about,lies

    27. Ron W. Smith says:

      Nice post, Amy. It is becoming increasingly obvious that receipt of welfare should be accompanied by work requirement sufficiently distasteful to the recipient to make getting off welfare as fast as possible desirable. Further, anyone incarcerated for any length of time, should either pay full value room and board or fulfill a reasonable work requirement to pay the bill(s); in either case the distastefulness of incarceration should be sufficient to make being out of (and staying out of) jail the better of all outcomes. If we have too many welfare recipients, we have far too many in the correctional systems in the U.S. (We have almost 5% of the world's population but 25% of the world's incarcerated folks!)

    28. Stirling says:

      This is always been part of the administrations agenda.. Destroy jobs, create a dependent welfare state, and manipulate the media (and numbers) to cover up the facts.. "Joe sixpack" who isn't informed sees only the liberal media spin and doesn't understand he's being taken advantage of. It's all a numbers game to the liberal elite. The executive orders were something this administration said they would never do, but now have become comon place (as 3rd world dictators). I dont trust anything from this administration at this point.

    29. Joseph McKennan says:

      So Clinton had to add his two cents huh. Isn't he the guy that said one plus one is three without batting an eye? Progressives (fancy lingo for liberals/socialists) just don't get it. They are convinced that every time they open their mouths they will be believed. They hold their BS to be altruisticly self-evident. Clinton accomplished one good thing that I am aware of– he turned me against the democraric party forever. He brought unmeasureable indignity to the White House with his diddling with bimbos. I am amazed that he is still considered a credible witness for truth, justice, and the American way– sorry for the idiotic cliches.
      That is what Clinton does to me. He is the standard bearer for the press because he never fails to come across with something sleazy or scandalous.

    30. Paula Piltz says:

      I hope that all of these great comments are being passed on to your friends & families so that B.O. won’t be in the Oval Office another 4 years!! There is ONE thing he didn’t lie about…fundamental change!! Nobody bothered to find out before voting for him, exactly what he ment by that…well we found out didn’t we? THE HARD WAY!

    31. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Obama held a gun to Bill Clinton's head to get him toe the line.

    32. Linda says:

      Is there a conservative or Republican who will stand up and fight some of the illegal things this administration is doing? I can barely stand to listen to any of them any more. They are doing nothing and this country is going over the cliff in all ways.

    33. Florida Jim says:

      Obama and Sebelius are trying to make simply waking up in the day part of the welfare requirement but certainly not getting up and going to a job and actual work. They want a society run by a huge government a model of which is George Soros' "one-world-society" run by the rich and the elite[professors and union thugs]

    34. I'm amazed at all the people who've posted here who actually believe ol' if-his-lips-are-moving-he's-lying-Romney is any decent alternative to the Obama administration. It's laughable. Forget requiring ID's to vote… they should force people to take an IQ test.

    35. Joseph McKennan says:

      I just read an article about B Clinton blasting Romney about his new commercial. I've never been a fan of Romney but now I say go Romney. I find Obama's commercial that Romney is anti-woman offensive too.. Turnabout is fair play. I am tired of the left frying to force THINKING people into political correctness then pull something like Romney is anti-woman. The Clinton's are tje original ATTACK masters with no scruples whatsoever. They taught American citizens the concept of smear and besmirch and totally destroy.

    36. kmkirb says:

      Why can't you, or do you just simply refuse to, do some fact checking before spouting off about the President & his Administration. He is not trying to gut the welfare reforms, nor is he lying about it. Get your heads out of the nasty ugly clouds & read some truth for once, instead of opinions for goodness sake! http://factcheck.org/2012/08/does-obamas-plan-gut

    37. You punks bought it when Clinton DENIED gtting Welfare reform!!!! WHERE'S YOR UNBIASEDNESS?!!! WHERE'S YOUR BIPARTISANSHIP?!!!

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