Preserving Work Requirements for Welfare Programs Act
On July 18th, 2012, Reps. Jim Jordan, David Camp and John Kline introduced H.R. 6140, the Preserving Work Requirements for Welfare Programs Act. This legislation would prohibit the Obama administration from unilaterally granting itself the authority to exempt states from the work requirements that were a critical element of welfare reform enacted in 1996 – potentially opening the door for activities like bed rest, smoking cessation and exercise to be counted as work for the purposes of complying with federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) requirements.
The Welfare Reform Act of 2011 The Most Effective Welfare Benefit Is the One that Leads to a Job
Congressional Republicans and President Bill Clinton enacted reforms in 1996 that required beneficiaries of a new welfare program (TANF) to either work or prepare for a job. President Clinton triumphantly declared these reforms would “end welfare as we know it,” and in fact millions of families have since moved off the TANF rolls and begun to provide for themselves.
Still, TANF is only 1 of 77 federal programs that provide benefits specifically to poor and low-income Americans. Despite the success of these reforms, combined state and federal welfare spending has almost doubled since 1996. Since President Lyndon Johnson declared a War on Poverty in 1964, Americans have spent around $16 trillion on means-tested welfare. We will spend another $10 trillion over the next decade based on recent projections. Even with all these resources devoted to assistance for the poor, poverty is higher today than it was in the 1970s.
H.R. 1167, the Welfare Reform Act of 2011, builds on the reforms of 1996 by requiring food stamp recipients to either work or prepare for a job, helping them to become independent of government assistance. The bill also gives taxpayers a clearer picture of national welfare spending and returns the federal welfare budget to pre-recession levels after unemployment falls to 6.5%. It was introduced by RSC Chairman Jim Jordan (OH-4), Rep. Tim Scott (SC-1), Rep. Scott Garrett (NJ-5), Rep. Dan Burton (IN-5), Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-1), and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (UT-3).
Companion legislation has been introduced in the Senate by Sens. Jim Demint, Tom Coburn, Lindsey Graham, Jim Inhofe, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, Jeff Sessions, and David Vitter.