• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Morning Bell: Clinton Is Wrong on Welfare Reform

    Last night, in his nationally televised speech, former President Bill Clinton said the charge that President Obama has gutted welfare reform was “a real doozy.”

    Clinton, who vetoed welfare reform twice before signing the welfare reform law in 1996, echoed the Obama Administration and media “fact checkers,” who have sworn that Obama’s Health and Human Services Department (HHS) is actually trying to strengthen the work requirements of the law by doing away with them.

    The fact is that the Administration has gutted welfare reform, and Heritage has detailed reports on exactly how—and what the consequences will be. Heritage expert Robert Rector, who helped write the 1996 law, answered Clinton this morning in no uncertain terms:

    The Obama Administration will put in mothballs the formal purpose of welfare reform—to reduce the number of people dependent on government benefits. The Administration will abandon the legislative performance goal that encourages states to reduce welfare caseloads. It will weaken the “work participation” standards that require some 30 percent of able-bodied Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients to engage in work activities for 20 to 30 hours per week.

    This week, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) also gave notice to the Administration that this type of law change must go through Congress.

    After Heritage’s Rector and Kiki Bradley broke the story July 12 that HHS was gutting the work requirements by allowing states to obtain waivers, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Representative Dave Camp (R-MI) asked the GAO to review the Administration’s actions. Heritage legal experts Todd Gaziano, Robert Alt, and Andrew Grossman have already detailed why the Administration’s actions are illegal—HHS has no authority to grant the type of waivers it is creating.

    The GAO told the lawmakers on Tuesday that the law changes should have been submitted to Congress.

    Last night, Clinton defended Obama’s HHS, saying that it would waive the work requirements for states “only if they had a credible plan to increase employment by 20 percent and they could keep the waivers only if they did increase employment. Now, did—did I make myself clear? The requirement was for more work, not less.”

    It may sound convincing, but Rector explains why this is a meaningless measure:

    In the typical state, 1.5 percent of the TANF caseload leaves welfare and obtains work each month. Thus, any state can be fully exempted from the TANF work requirements if it raises the number of exits to 1.8 percent. This is a miniscule change. What will the other 98.2 percent of the caseload be doing? No one knows for sure. But one thing we do know for certain: They will be exempt from the federal “work participation” requirements established in the welfare reform law.

    The 1996 reforms were an outstanding success. Poverty, especially among black Americans, dropped substantially. Employment of the most disadvantaged single mothers increased dramatically. These are not reforms that should be gutted. These are reforms that should be a signature accomplishment of the Clinton presidency. Unfortunately, he is repudiating his own accomplishment to cover for the Obama Administration.

    READ UP:

    Did Republican governors try to do the same thing the Obama Administration has done? Read the answer here.

    Ending Work for Welfare: An Overview by Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield

    Welfare Work Requirements: Vague Replacement of Work for Welfare by Robert Rector

    Ending Work for Welfare: Bogus Measures of Success by Robert Rector

    Media “Fact Checkers” Promote Obama’s Gutting of Welfare Reform by Amy Payne

    Quick Hits:

    • Democrats re-inserted references to God and to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel into their party platform yesterday, but the changes drew loud “no” voice votes and boos from delegates.
    • Many of the executives on President Obama’s jobs council run or advise companies that engage in outsourcing with China and other foreign countries, according to an investigation by the Washington Guardian.
    • “The White House and elected officials are offering highly visible support for gay marriage at the Democratic convention, electrifying activists and signaling that President Obama’s campaign views the position as a political winner,” reports The Hill.
    • Meanwhile, in China, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was stood up by that country’s vice president yesterday.
    • Did Julian Castro effectively articulate the American dream in his Charlotte speech? Heritage’s David Azerrad answers.
    Posted in Culture [slideshow_deploy]

    42 Responses to Morning Bell: Clinton Is Wrong on Welfare Reform

    1. TerryBilyeu says:

      So, Mr. Obama is now running on Mr. Clinton's record? I guess you really have to have eyes to see to catch this baloney! And thank you for keeping up with these guy's, its amazing what they'll try to pull…

      • timpclimber says:

        Baloney is the proper word for their speeches and plans. The DNC has been funnier than Comedy Central. They would win Paul Bunyun tale contests hands down.

      • JohnLeeHooker says:

        laughable really: arguably the/one of the worst presidents in recent history has chosed the only impeached president to nominate him for re-election.

    2. toledofan says:

      What is just amazing to me is that Clinton told so many tall tales, and a couple of times when he raised his crooked left index finger and said, listen to me, the first thing that popped in my mind was his response to not having sex with Monica. Obama isn't Clinton and trying to relate back to the earlier Presidency, Clinton failed to mention that he moved to the center, Obama is still way out in left field, and that Clinton was managed by a Republican House and Senate. Obama owned it all for his first two years and squandered his capital. Clinton is a politican, Obama is an ideolog and has just failed miserably. Again, the words don't match the actions of the past almost four years.

    3. Paulpatriot says:

      Ok so you all admitt that the Obama administration has not "Gutted welfare reform" But oh no the big boogey man "The Obama Administration will put in mothballs the formal purpose of welfare reform" so Mr Clinton is correct and you all are trying to tell the future to scare people. get real!

      • Todd says:

        The only people I see trying to run with scare tactics are democrats. Even in their convention, they are telling women to "get their abortions before the Republicans win".

        Democrats have really lost any moral or ethical values they may have ever had.


    4. sdfultz says:

      There was a time I would have used The Foundry as an intellectually informed resource, but after this election cycle, The Foundry has lost all credibility!

    5. Bobbie says:

      Clinton is a traitor. He panders to people who aren't white convincing them they can't live free in America to govern their own. We all belong to govern our own as individuals because any other government has authority over us and is only subjecting us to it. Democrats are fools trying to fool you. Republicans number one priority is to fix this country from the severe damage caused by democrats who does not cooperate who looks for things to govern off people that should be respected to do for themselves.

      Most all democrats are traitors to this country. Clinton spoke saying "all we need is cooperation." He was referring to the republican party who stands to defend this country and our freedom. I pray the Republicans will stand stronger and know freedom is what makes America. The people are what makes her exceptional.

      Democrats have no integrity and will make anyone a pity story.

      Republicans have no hate for people. It's an easy, childish word democrats use to manipulate their constituents at their convenience and for their defense to fool the vulnerable. Republicans want this country back where it was when Americans welcomed immigrants who chose to live here the way she stood. Republicans respect people and want America here for them to open their minds intelligence and feel comfortable living free and independent. This is a trap for government take over of America's freedom and our independence! Obama is the best man for the job as his democrat minions draw attention toward immigrants as the liability.

    6. Linda Kracht says:

      thanks for the clarifications

    7. J E Houser says:

      You are again after me to use profanity. I must confess however that I am NOT that proficient in profanity to answer their stupidity. Please, please revoke the 17th Amendment. That might give us a chance.

    8. Justin Johnson says:

      This is what kills me when I debate these things with liberals. When you present these facts to them they throw a temper tantrum. The truth is that Obama failed to help our nation. Welfare is a joke… he wants to collapse the system from the inside out by overloading a broke economy. Obamacare is a joke, unemployment, the national debt has almost tripled, he has FAILED!!!!

      • SALLIE says:

        That's because Bush passed on two wars, we had an economic crash/disaster compared to the Great Depression, the recovery act passed, revenues were/are still down, and tax cuts continue for the wealthiest Americans. Damn right, the national debt has increased. If republicans had their way, it would be worse. And don't forget the Bush's-REPLUBLICAN PRESIDENTS who increased the national debt. The only tow presidents that had a surplus were Democrats! And guess what…I AM BETTER OFF TODAY!

    9. Elizabeth says:

      Guess the ignoring of submitting "proposed" changes to the Welfare to Work program were a "Procedural oversite ( once again) of the Obama administration. Not only did this throw the baby out with the bath water, the Welfare to Work regulations as passed during the Clinton administration did not have a loophole closed….each new "family adddition" restarted the 2 yr requirement to be employed if you were receiving benefits which perpetuated the many generations not employed on public assistance. Now those on assistance can truly sit back and enjoy their' "crazy" check.

      • Lisa Lineweaver says:

        I also understand that there are free cell phones included in the welfare package now known as "Obama phones". When we couldn't sell our house, I went without a cell phone for a year. Then, I bought a cheap "Go" phone and only used it for emergencies and put money down on it twice a year. Now, I continue to use it because it fits within our budget while we pay down our debt after selling the house. I would love to be able to text rapidly or check emails with my phone but apparently that is only possible if a person goes on welfare and receives a free cell phone with all the bells and whistles.

    10. Ken Watson says:

      Another element to this: with Taxmageddon upon us and essentially EVERYONE'S taxes going up about ten percent (except those low earners Bush removed from the tax roles, they get a 100% bump) the incentive to find legal, above-board employment with W-2s and all, will shift away from that and into the undocumented economy. I don't think there is any doubt, is there? that vast numbers of welfare recipient households do have wage earners, some in frankly illegal pursuits but a great many are in semi-skilled trades or take advantage of the underground infrastructure developed to hire illegal immigrants. The end of the payroll tax abatement will do likewise. That is before one considers the inevitable emptying of America's pockets to pay the titanic debt, which increases going forward. We are heading to a future where all but the super-rich or their body-slaves will be ON public assistance but OFF the tax roles. Forever. FORWARD. http://www.megapotamus.com/wp/?p=372

      • timpclimber says:

        My friend from California told me that in the last ten years that CA has registered 7,000,000 new voters but only 150,000 of them are taxpayers.

    11. The Bob says:

      Two liars to lead the Dems, one lies about sex, the other everything. Is it any wonder were in the mess were in, after all we the people elected them both, didn't learn much the first time did we?

    12. Lloyd Scallan says:

      Bill Clinton is not wrong. he lied through he teeth to protect, not only another Democrat, but a Dem that is deliberately attempting to destroy our America. Yet Amy give him a pass by writing he is just "wrong". Amy should look at the facts of Bill Clinton's past and the crimes he committed before and during his presidency. As a woman, Amy should be made aware of the number of women Clinton molested and raped. Then perhaps she could write an intelligents blog.

    13. Ron W. Smith says:

      Ricipients of welfare should feel uncomfortable doing so, and one of the ways of making discomfort happen is a work requirement that exceeds the $ return significantly. With at-home work ever more a part of the workaday world, few would have to be exempted from the requirement for health/family reasons. Getting a real job pronto would be the goal of both welfare recipient and government agency responsible.
      I feel the same about incarceration–stiff, regular work requirement and/or realistic room and board in this case. The U.S. has just under 5% of the world's population and almost 25% of the world's incarcerated population. What a waste! The first step should be reexamination of the societal attitudes and laws leading to incarceration, a thorough housecleaning of "the books," and BIG reduction in the numbers of people in prisons and jails. The step that will additionally help a lot is making incarceration a bad experience through the work requirement and a room and/or board requirement.
      Being on welfare or in prison should be anything but pleasurable.

      • Jeanne Stotler says:

        That was the past, they made license tags, cleaned the roads and surrounding areas and in some states kept a garden, growing food for the prisoners, look at the money it saved state and local gov'ts. and they didn't get plush cells and TV etc. Able bodied people should work, when our country was in it's infancy, all able bodied worked or did't eat. Little boys leared to weed the herb and veggie gardens, little girls learned to sew and clean house,usually starting around 7 YO. I had chores growing up and so did my kids so WHY would we not expect welfare reciptiants to do some form of community service?

      • ThomNJ says:

        Now there is a man who gets it!

    14. Bobbie says:

      And I also want to say that when anyone tells you in America "you're on you're own," don't be feared, take it with pride and know the respect you're given. That means you govern your own with your personal resources through family, friends, churches and the charitable resources America provides. On your own to manage your livelihood! You're never technically on your own but you can technically be "on your own free from government dependency." Please know that Americans are much better people than this government shows no recognition to. Democrats will use their freedom of speech to fear you into their arms. We're trying to save you from their ignorance. Oh and there's no such thing as "shared" responsibility or sacrifice when the control of government is behind it (who can do anything they want and make anything look the way it really isn't.) We all come from different cultures and faiths, how could there be? It's why we govern our own under common law. Nothings rigged that democrats aren't behind.

    15. Rev. Lynn Ward Moore says:

      Wake up America!!! Shame on a former President (Clinton) for telling more lies in order to garner votes for Obama who finds misleading the American public to be something with which he is comfortable. We should not be surprised that Clinton would lie because of his shady past in dealing with certain White House pages. He missed impeachment by a fraction. So much for not flinching when lying.
      I read HR 32 on line at the government website in 2009 and it involved and changed a litany of laws–IRS Code 1985(6), Social Security, Public Health, Medicare/Medicaid, Veterans Affairs AND the Work Reconciliation Act of 1996 (Clinton's) just to name a few. Rev. Lynn Ward Moore

    16. Ben C. says:

      If you want to view welfare at its best visit Detroit Michigan. Columbus Ohio has a greater population than Detroit. My recommendation is to stay in your car with the doors locked. After viewing the burned out abandoned homes its clear that it is a diaster area – man made. Detroit's literacy rate hovers around fifty percent. but they know enough to get their bridge cards and welfare checks. Isn't welfare grand.

    17. will says:

      We have the motive and the evidence of the crime.
      Motive… Bill Clinton vetoed TANF twice, due to intense pressure from the left over the work requirements. He signed the law vowing to fix it. Barack Obama, in support of the left at the time, on record saying he was not in favor of the work requirements.
      Evidence… The HHS Memo states "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." And the HHS Memo offers this example of an acceptable waiver of the work requirements:
      "Projects that test the impact of a comprehensive universal engagement system in lieu of certain participation rate requirements."

    18. Rich says:

      Clinton's remarks show that welfare reform without the Republican Congress would not have been what it was. Maybe Clinton is closer to Obama than we give him credit . He likes to tout his surplus during his Presidency. Without a Republican Congress there would have been no surplus.

    19. Dr. Henry Sinopoli says:

      When will you begin to realize your organizations is becoming irrelevant because you never publish any comments that truthfully state how Heritage panders to life-long politicians?

    20. nuttenbutda says:

      Go to a few other independent fact check sites to see how much of what Clinton said was BS (e.g.; PolitiFact). As a believer state's rights and the concept of a federalism, the idea of giving power to improve and manage welfare more directly is a righteous idea. The ideas proposed are stuff the GOP has promoted. Clinton was masterful in co-opting GOP agendas and then taking credit. He and Obama are doing it again, backing Repubs into a corner of hypocrisy, stealing conservative ideas and then taking credit! This includes the individual mandate for health insurance that says if you are independent and prepared to take care of your own biz, then you have to have health insurance. This was a GOP idea and in Romneys plan to support privatized and improved health coverage by increasing the pool and using capitalist competition to make it all work. This isn't socialized medicine. Another one of the Heritage Foundation good ideas stolen.

      • Gary says:

        As a Massachusetts liberal I'll be the first to admit the individual mandate was a conservative concept; but it's a good one. I know it helped encourage my wife to find a better job after graduating college. At the time she felt it was an invasion of her personal liberties but I think she has since warmed to the policy.

        But if anyone on either side of the isle has a better idea for getting rid of the pre-existing exceptions I'd say the country is all ears.

        Personally I'd love a single payer option but I just don't think we can afford it.

    21. Doc Hilliard says:

      Those womanizers have no leg to stand on.

    22. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Bill Clinton s wrong on welfare reform.

    23. Josh Krinsky says:

      What do you think of Planned Parenthood getting federal funding? Tell us at http://bit.ly/Rgg5iA

    24. GeorgeAmes says:

      I notice that "The Foundry" is doing its best to discredit "Fact Checkers".
      The Foundry can have their own opinion.. but not their own Facts.
      I'll believe INDEPENDENT sources on this issue before I'll believe a BIASED source… and there is no doubt "The Foundry" is highly biased!
      These facts ARE known… Republican Governors asked for leaway in this program and promised to get even more people off welfare, and thus create a Catch 22. 1) If they had been denied, the big propaganda would now be "We had an idea to cut welfare, and Obama wouldn't let us." 2) Instead, they were granted the leaway and NOW the propaganda is "Obama's gutting welfare reform"… What a lie by Romney/Ryan!

    25. Tom says:

      Hope you have shoes on when you pass on. Because I know that you know where people go for telling lies and being a compassionate Christian gentleman I sure would hate to see you burn your feet.

    26. Don Harris says:

      Mr. Clinton's trouble with the truth is well known. I am surprised that anyone would be surprised.

    27. Oscar Manful says:

      Very interesting ideas raised in piece!

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.