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Report Finds Obama Can Waive Welfare Work Requirements…or Not
Posted By Andrew Grossman On September 14, 2012 @ 10:30 am In Featured | Comments Disabled
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.
So is the Administration right? CRS’s conclusion is…who knows?
Here’s the key bit of analysis: “If a court determines that the requirements of Section 402(a)(1) are not merely waivable reporting requirements, then a court is likely to find the Secretary’s interpretation that she may waive provisions of Section 402, in so far as they incorporate requirements in Section 407.”
And if I had ham, I could have a ham sandwich, if I had bread.
To reach this non-conclusion, CRS bungles more than a few points along the way:
All of these errors are to the Administration’s advantage—but even that wasn’t enough for CRS to actually conclude that waiving welfare’s work requirements is legal.
The problem is that it isn’t legal, and nothing in the CRS report rebuts a single point made in our detailed analysis of the statute . That’s because CRS simply ignores the statute.
If this is the best that work opponents can do, then they haven’t got much. Not even a ham sandwich.
Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org
URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2012/09/14/report-finds-obama-can-waive-welfare-work-requirementsor-not/
URLs in this post:
 are touting: http://democrats.waysandmeans.house.gov/press/PRArticle.aspx?NewsID=12238
 CRS’s analysis: http://democrats.waysandmeans.house.gov/media/pdf/112/TANF_Waiver_Memo_Levin.pdf
 our detailed analysis of the statute: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/08/welfare-reforms-work-requirements-cannot-be-waived
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