Posts Tagged ‘Obama administration’

Obama administration guts work requirement for welfare program

July 17, 2012

The Obama administration has moved yet again to circumvent Congress. Last week, the Obama Department of Health and Human Services issued a new policy directive which gutted the work requirements of President Clinton’s welfare reform law of 1996.

As we face looming financial disaster, the current administration has moved to expand the culture of entitlement by no longer requiring recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) to work or prepare for work as a condition for receiving this welfare aid.

According the Heritage Foundation’s Morning Bell:

This reform was very successful. TANF became the only welfare program (out of more than 70) that promoted greater self-reliance. It moved 2.8 million families off the welfare rolls and into jobs so that they were providing for themselves. Child poverty fell, and single-parent employment rose. Recipients were required to perform at least 20–30 hours per week of work or job preparation activities in exchange for the cash benefit.
Now, Obama’s HHS is claiming that it can waive those work requirements that are at the heart of the law, and without Congress’s consent.

The new directive states that the TANF work requirement can be waived or over-ridden using something known as the “section 1115 waiver authority”. That section of the Social Security law says that “the Secretary may waive compliance with any of the requirements” of specified parts of different laws – however, it is not carte blanche authority. In fact, the ONLY provisions that can be waived under section 1115 must be contained in section 1115. The work provisions of the TANF program are not.

When TANF was created in the late 90’s, Congress deliberately exempted most of the program from the section 1115 waiver authority so that the laws could not be rewritten via directives from HHS. In fact, only one section of the TANF law falls under section 1115 – state reporting requirements.

The bureaucratic gymnastics to exempt the work requirements are frightening in their implications. With this new directive, HHS guts the core of TANF, allowing them to rewrite the law at will, via rules, regulations and directives – but keeping Congress completely out of the loop. They do so in clear opposition to the 2001 findings of the Congressional Research Service and the intent of the law as written. The 2001 finding states explicitly that the limited authority to waive state reporting requirement in section 402 does not grant authority to override work and other major requirements in the other sections of the TANF law
This is a not the first time President Obama has gone around Congress to push his agenda. It’s not even the first time in the last month. In the face of exploding costs – welfare spending has grown more rapidly than Social Security and Medicare, education, and defense – the work requirements of the TANF program were a step in the right direction. Now, instead of working towards REDUCING the size and scope of a nation’s dependence on government programs, we now have one more program we can’t pay for – and no incentive for recipients to get off.

Congress must reassert its authority as a check and balance against the executive branch. We can no longer afford to turn a blind eye to the unprecedented power grabs of the current administration.


Bureaucrats gone wild

February 23, 2012

20120223-084836.jpgWith gas prices reaching historic seasonal highs, Americans are asking themselves what’s going on. What’s going on is plenty, and all of it in the wrong direction under the Obama Administration.

One wrong-headed move follows another with this president, and listing them would take days. Drilling bans, ridiculous regulatory burdens, locked up lands, and halting the Keystone Pipeline come quickly to mind, but there is more. Two moves currently underway underscore the problem. The first is the “Menendez Amendment” that may be introduced as part of the coming highway bill in the Senate. It is yet another run at taking away “loopholes” from American oil companies – “Loopholes” that are available to every other type of American company for ordinary manufacturing tax credits and to avoid double taxation when foreign taxes on some profits have already been paid. So Senator Menendez – at the STate of the Union urging of the President – wants to single out U.S. companies for “special” treatment.

(Of note: Orrin Hatch voted for a similar tax hike back in December of 2007. Bob Bennett’s no vote was the margin by which it was defeated…)

Meanwhile, foreign oil producers like BP and Shell, and the national companies from Venezuela and Iran, get yet another competitive advantage. 

What happens if we raise taxes on oil and gas producers? Well, you think four bucks a gallon is bad…

But even that is not enough for this administration. Now the SEC is looking to force those same U.S. oil producers (as a little known part of Dodd/Frank, naturally) to disclose sensitive competitive information about monies paid to foreign governments to the whole world – including those same foreign companies against which American producers compete! U.S. companies that are publicly traded would have to account publicly for every payment down to the level of individual well leases. No one is opposing transparency here, but to have an American bureaucracy impose this kind of regulation ONLY on publicly-traded, AMERICAN companies is yet another example of the wrong move at the wrong time. Disclose total payments to particular countries? No problem. To give away the store to Venezuela and Iran? That’s a problem. 

Do the Obama-ites even realize who the really Big Players in the world oil market really are? You don’t get to companies like Exxon-Mobil till you’re way out of the Top Ten. To force U.S. producers to open their books to all their foreign competitors more than wrong-headed, it is insane.

It is just one more example of “Bureaucrats Gone Wild” under this administration – and one more explanation of four-dollar gas. If the Obama Administration gets its way on Menendez and Dodd/Frank disclosure, five bucks is just down the road.

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