Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers today made the following statement on President Obama’s dismantling of bipartisan welfare reforms:
Welfare reform is an example of bipartisanship at its
finest, with Republicans and Democrats coming together to solve a problem
that had plagued our country for decades. It was among the most significant
reform efforts of our lifetime. Barack Obama opposed bipartisan welfare
reform and now, as president, he is moving to undo one of its central components.
By making an end run around Congress and taking this ill-advised, unilateral
action, President Obama has shown that he doesn’t have the popular support
to gut welfare reform through the legislative process – and that he doesn’t
seem to care.
How exactly is President Obama dismantling welfare reforms? If you, unlike our fair congresswoman, were to read the memo from the Department of Health and Human Services for yourself you would learn that this is not a change to the national welfare system.
HHS is issuing this information memorandum to notify states of the Secretary’s willingness to exercise her waiver authority under section 1115 of the Social Security Act to allow states to test alternative and innovative strategies, policies, and procedures that are designed to improve employment outcomes for needy families.
HHS is requesting pilot-program proposals. And there's more.
In providing for these demonstrations, HHS will hold states accountable by requiring both a federally-approved evaluation and interim performance targets that ensure an immediate focus on measurable outcomes. States must develop evaluation plans that are sufficient to evaluate the effect of the proposed approach in furthering a TANF purpose as well as interim targets the state commits to achieve. States that fail to meet interim outcome targets will be required to develop an improvement plan and can face termination of the waiver project.
HHS will measure the outcome of the pilot program and the state will either improve the program or be terminated if it's not working. That's exactly what the dismantling of welfare reform looks like--if your singular goal in life is to say and do everything and anything possible to limit Obama to a single term.