Romney attacks Obama dropping of work for welfare rule
By LUKE VARGAS
Talk Radio News Service
WASHINGTON - The Romney campaign intensified its attack on President Obama today, warning that a July 12 guidancef rom the Department of Health and Human Services could allow states to drop the work requirement provisions that have accompanied welfare benefits since the bipartisan entitlement reforms of the 1990?s.
On a morning conference call with reporters, Romney’s deputy policy director Jonathan Burks said that Obama had overstepped his authority by authorizing such a modification of welfare programs.
“No prior administration has viewed themselves as having the legal authority to issue a waiver from this core work requirement,” Burks said. In his opinion, removing the work requirement would turn welfare funding for states into a “blank check.”
Ted Cruz, the popular Tea Party Republican Senate candidate from Texas, also participated on the call, identifying what he saw as the three central failings of the policy shift. Along with being fiscally irresponsible, Cruz contended that the Obama administration demonstrated “executive arrogance” by circumventing Congressional debate and consultation with the American public. Additionally, Cruz believed removing welfare’s work requirement would hurt benefit recipients by making it more difficult for them to “stand on their own feet.”
“We are not doing anybody a favor by giving them welfare in perpetuity and making them dependent on government,” Cruz said.
Only moments after the teleconference concluded, Romney touched upon the welfare issue directly at a campaign stop at Elk Grove Village, Illinois. Romney stressed that the welfare overhauls of the Clinton years [under a Republican Congress] were “one of the greatest bipartisan successes” in recent decades.
Romney warned that Obama’s demonstrated willingness to walk away from work requirements threatened to reverse the diminishing dependency on entitlements that was encouraged by the reforms of 1996.
“Those who can work ought to have the opportunity for a good job, and if they are getting state assistance they ought to have the requirement for a good job,” Romney said. “We will end a culture of dependency and restore a culture of good hard work.”
The White House, however, sharply condemned the myriad of attacks, with a top spokesman calling Romney’s assertion “categorically false” and “blatantly dishonest.”
“As we have made very clear under our policy, any request from any state that undercuts the work requirement in welfare reform will be rejected,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney during a briefing today.
Carney later argued that Obama’s directive was in no way aimed at encouraging people to stay on welfare.
Geoff Holtzman contributed to this report.
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