Republican nominee for president Mitt Romney remains on the campaign trail and in a speech in Iowa Wednesday falsely accused President Obama on welfare reform. Romney claimed that an Obama plan has “removed the requirement of work from welfare."
In fact the plan he cited is not about removing a requirement of work but altering it in some cases, along the lines state governors, lead by at least two Republican governors, have asked for. On July 12 of this year the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued what it called an "information memorandum" that indicates renewed flexibility with the welfare reform/work requirement program of 1996.
Welfare's Work Requirement remains
The flexibility is for cases where a state feels entry to the work requirement program needs to be delayed for a brief period for some families that may need extra time, such as refugee families or families experiencing problems and needing to work with officials to stabilize. The information memorandum makes it clear the Department of Health and Human Services “is only interested in approving waivers if the state can explain in a compelling fashion why the proposed approach may be a more efficient or effective means to promote employment entry, retention, advancement, or access to jobs."
One of the requirements for achieving a time-waiver to first work with a family, as outlined in the July memorandum, is that the state asking for waivers to the welfare/work requirements must "improve their rates of workforce reintroduction by 20 percent." In other words, the waivers have to work and elevate the rate at which the state is putting people to work.
Misleading Republican ad
That is the program that in Des Moines, Iowa, Romney described as removing the requirement to work. His description followed a Republican ad that attacked Obama for the program. "Under Obama’s plan, you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job,” the ad says. “They just send you your welfare check, and ‘welfare to work’ goes back to being plain old welfare.”
Again, these changes to the work requirement program of the 1996 welfare reforms come as a result of states asking for them. Further, as the New York Times points out, it's part of what 29 Republican state governors asked then-U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (Rep.) for in a letter in May of 2005.
One of the 29 signing that letter was the then-governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney.
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 DigitalJournal.com