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article imageOp-Ed: Romney slams Obama for plan Romney approved in 2005

By Bill Schmalfeldt     Aug 7, 2012 in Politics
Washington - At what point will it be acceptable to refer to presumed GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney as a pathological liar? He lied about the meaning of "You didn't build that." He lied about the Ohio lawsuit.
Now he's lying about what President Obama's welfare plan would do. And he fails to mention that what the plan would do is something that he and 28 other Republican governors asked Congress to do in a letter they signed in 2005.
Romney charges that the Obama welfare plan would allow a culture of dependency to grow in America by removing a requirement that people be forced to work to earn welfare benefits. While praising President Clinton, who will no doubt tear Romney to shreds during his prime time speech at the Democratic National Convention, Romney told a gathering of supporters in Illinois today (Aug. 7) that Obama would gut Clinton's advances in welfare reform.
“President Obama, in just the last few days, has tried to reverse that accomplishment, by taking the work requirement out of welfare. That is wrong, if I’m president I’ll put work back in welfare.”'
This statement comes on the heels of a new ad in which Romney claims:
"Under Obama’s plan, you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job — they just send you your welfare check.”
As has been the case with so much of Romney's campaign claims, this one fails to hold water.
As the Obama campaign noted, a July HHS memo said that states would have to prove that any changes would boost employment, a position that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius reiterated last month after a slew of similar attacks from House Republicans.
Making the Romney lie even more egregious is that the move by the Department of Health and Human Services came in response to requests from at least two Republican governors in Utah and Nevada, who complained paperwork requirements and narrow participation metrics were hampering their ability find recipients work. This had been a complaint from Republican-led states in the past: Romney himself signed a letter with 28 other Republican governors in 2005 requesting Congress grant waivers to allow more flexibility in administering the program.
Jonathan Burks, the Romney campaign’s deputy policy director, pointed to a single phrase in the HHS memo. “One of the items in which they express their willingness to issue waivers,” he said, “is a project that ‘demonstrates superior employment outcomes in lieu of participation rate requirements.’” But the same memo also says that “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.”
Talking Points Memo claims Burks lied about Utah Gov. Gary Herbert wanting flexibility on administering the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, not exemption from participation rate requirements.
Herbert’s letter to HHS shows otherwise. While the letter complains about cumbersome paperwork, it ultimately recommends precisely what the Obama administration’s memo puts into action: allowing states to replace participation requirements with other measurable outcomes. The letter says that “Participation in federally defined activities has become the outcome of the TANF program” while “Employment should be the measure of success.”
The letter specifically suggests “participation” as a metric where they could use more latitude:
“Freedom to tailor services, participation, work preparation to the family and the economic service area without strict regard to narrowed definitions of allowable activities will give us the ability to test out other models that may be better designed to an area’s resources and economic realities.”
This latest falsehood from the Romney campaign is just the latest in a string from a campaign that seems to believe that reporters are unable to fact-check their allegations and that voters are stupid enough to believe what they are told without thinking twice.
Meanwhile, against all logic, knowing that the release of his tax returns could end Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's career or at the very least ruin any credibility he has, Romney inexplicably continues to refuse to release his tax returns.
"You people" have enough information about the candidate, Romney's wife reminded us last month.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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