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Obama’s Gutting of Welfare Reform Is Illegal
Heritage Foundation ^ | 7/16/2012 | Todd Gaziano and Robert Alt

Posted on 07/16/2012 5:47:42 PM PDT by markomalley

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has a General Counsel and legal staff to ensure that the agency’s actions are lawful. Did they take the day off last Thursday?

We have to question whether the department lawyers were consulted at all about the “Information Memorandum” issued by HHS last Thursday that invites states to come up with creative excuses (aka “demonstration projects”) to suspend the work requirements in the welfare reform law.

Given the clear, unambiguous, and binding legal prohibition for that type of waiver, if they were consulted, the lawyers involved were embarrassingly careless in approving language that is in direct violation of federal law. Because there is no legal basis for permitting the waivers at issue, HHS needs to follow the law and withdraw the illegal Memorandum.

Last Thursday, our colleagues Robert Rector and Kiki Bradley were among the first to expose the Obama Administration’s plan—through the HHS Memorandum—to gut the work requirement that was an essential foundation of the landmark welfare reform law of 1996. They explained one reason why the waiver authority cited by HHS does not allow the Secretary to waive the key work requirements. It turns out there is an even clearer, and express, legal prohibition in the 1996 statute against what HHS seems to want to do.

In short, the HHS action that would be highly questionable when you read the authorities cited by HHS becomes completely indefensible when you examine all the relevant law.

As Rector and Bradley noted, the waiver authority cited in the HHS Memorandum only authorizes the Secretary of HHS to suspend certain reporting requirements under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) law, not the underlying work requirements in section 407 of the act, now codified in 42 U.S.C. § 607. The HHS Memorandum advances the flimsy argument that:

While the TANF work participation requirements are contained in section 407 [now section 607 of the code], section 402(a)(a)(1)(A)(iii) requires that the state plan “[e]nsure that parents and caretakers receiving assistance under the program engage in work activities in accordance with section 407.” Thus, HHS has authority to waive compliance with this 402 requirement and authorize a state to test approaches and methods other than those set forth in section 407, including definitions of work activities and engagement, specified limitations, verification procedures, and the calculation of participation rates.

Rector and Bradley correctly argued that the best way to read these different provisions is that the Secretary’s power to waive state reporting requirements should not be read to permit the Secretary to do what the waiver provision does not authorize and indeed forbids by implication: waiving the substantive work requirements of another section.

But there is an even more pointed reason to come to the same conclusion: Federal law expressly prohibits the Secretary from waiving the work requirements!

Section 415(a)(2)(B) of the welfare reform act, now codified at 42 U.S.C. § 615(a)(2)(B), expressly states that “a waiver granted under section 1315 of this title [the one that HHS now claims it is acting under] or otherwise which relates to the provision of assistance under a State program funded under this part (as in effect on September 30, 1996) shall not affect the applicability of section 607 of this title [which applies the work requirements] to the State.” In short, whatever else might be said of the scope of the waiver authority, the Secretary has no lawful authority to waive the work requirements of section 607, which is what HHS is contemplating in its Memorandum.

On the same day the HHS Memorandum was issued, House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R–MI) and Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R–UT) sent a pointed letter to HHS Secretary Sebelius asking for the department’s legal reasoning by the end of today (Monday), stating that they “believe [HHS's position] is deeply flawed and specifically contradicted by TANF and related statutory language.” A source from the Finance Committee indicated that as of the time of this writing, the Secretary has not yet acknowledged their request.

Some sort of explanation is obviously needed. The statutory language here is so clear that it is difficult to imagine how HHS could justify the language of the Memorandum or its primary object. The least painful approach for the department is to retract the Memorandum. An explicit confession of error would be nice, but an implicit acknowledgement is all that is necessary. But whatever the explanation, HHS needs to follow the law and withdraw the illegal Memorandum.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Editorial; Government
KEYWORDS: hatch; hhs; sebelius; welfarereform

1 posted on 07/16/2012 5:47:44 PM PDT by markomalley
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To: markomalley

Everything else the bastard has done is illegal, so why would one more matter?


2 posted on 07/16/2012 5:49:09 PM PDT by sport
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To: All


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3 posted on 07/16/2012 5:52:46 PM PDT by musicman (Until I see the REAL Long Form Vault BC, he's just "PRES__ENT" Obama = Without "ID")
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To: markomalley

“Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges”.


4 posted on 07/16/2012 5:53:57 PM PDT by Proud2BeRight
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To: sport

I agree, makes me wonder why a Conservative/Republcan President can’t get away with similar actions—never mind, I know.


5 posted on 07/16/2012 5:56:32 PM PDT by izzatzo (Just beat Obama.)
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To: markomalley

Unfortunately for Americans, the commie ‘RATS OWN all of the courts, lawyers and judges these days. Americans, especially conservatives and Christians, are just SOL.


6 posted on 07/16/2012 5:57:35 PM PDT by FlingWingFlyer (Who is Barack Hussein Obama?)
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To: markomalley

This is exactly why the 2nd amendment is in jeapordy: Obama has given anumber of illegal orders and the Congress sits on their hands.


7 posted on 07/16/2012 5:57:42 PM PDT by CodeToad (History says our end is near.)
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To: markomalley

After you’ve allowed a President with illegal qualifications to be elected..
THEN.. the word illegal is nebulous.. nonsense...

After you’ve made an in your face racist to become Attorney General what then is illegal?..

The very word illegal has become nonsense..
Illegal aliens have become Undocumented insurgents.. protected by federal minions..

NOTHING is now illegal EXCEPT what Zero-Obama says is illegal..
Justice Roberts is now Obamas bitch... a very dicy situation..


8 posted on 07/16/2012 5:58:02 PM PDT by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole..)
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To: markomalley

He’s looting the treasury to buy votes.

You can’t give money away without the permission of congress.


9 posted on 07/16/2012 6:16:15 PM PDT by conservative sympathizer
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To: markomalley

He’s looting the treasury to buy votes.

You can’t give money away without the permission of congress.


10 posted on 07/16/2012 6:16:21 PM PDT by conservative sympathizer
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To: markomalley

Sebelius most probably would have found it a sacred honor to work for Stalin or Lenin.


11 posted on 07/16/2012 6:22:37 PM PDT by Marine_Uncle (Honor must be earned.)
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*


12 posted on 07/16/2012 6:24:13 PM PDT by PMAS
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To: markomalley

BFD, what are the sheeple going to do about it? Not a dam thing but whine,cry, bitch and moan that’s all.


13 posted on 07/16/2012 6:31:03 PM PDT by WP Lonestar (No matter where you go, there you are)
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To: Marine_Uncle
Sebelius most probably would have found it a sacred honor to work for Stalin or Lenin.

Would have? (NB: I don't typically believe in reincarnation...but in Ø's case...)

14 posted on 07/16/2012 6:41:15 PM PDT by markomalley (Nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good-Pope Leo XIII)
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To: markomalley

As if O cares about the law....


15 posted on 07/16/2012 6:41:30 PM PDT by Nifster
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To: markomalley

He’s trying his darn best. :)


16 posted on 07/16/2012 6:45:27 PM PDT by Marine_Uncle (Honor must be earned.)
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To: markomalley

Article II, §3, clause 5: “he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed”.


17 posted on 07/16/2012 6:49:22 PM PDT by Jim Noble (Diseases desperate grown are by desperate appliance relieved or not at all.)
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To: markomalley

Article II, §3, clause 5: “he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed”.


18 posted on 07/16/2012 6:49:40 PM PDT by Jim Noble (Diseases desperate grown are by desperate appliance relieved or not at all.)
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To: markomalley

I guess next Obama will just end the tax cut extension debate and have the IRS issue new guidelines requiring the tax rates he wants.


19 posted on 07/16/2012 7:09:17 PM PDT by Will88
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To: markomalley

Dems don’t have to follow no stinkin’ laws ...


20 posted on 07/16/2012 7:24:33 PM PDT by GOPJ (Innocent people dying was the objective of Fast and Furious......... Ann Coulter)
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To: izzatzo
I agree, makes me wonder why a Conservative/Republcan President can’t get away with similar actions—never mind, I know.

Ummm, because we're not liars and criminals? That would be my guess.

21 posted on 07/16/2012 7:26:42 PM PDT by GOPJ (Innocent people dying was the objective of Fast and Furious......... Ann Coulter)
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To: markomalley

I’ll go around Congress.

And if they don’t like that, I’ll go around the law.

And if someone doesn’t like that, I’ll go around the courts.

And if someone doesn’t like that, I’ll go around the Supreme Court after I threaten them to not mess with me.

There, shove it, America!


22 posted on 07/16/2012 7:31:13 PM PDT by Right Wing Assault (Dick Obama is more inexperienced now than he was before he was elected.)
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To: izzatzo

selectively apply the tax law, hooray!


23 posted on 07/16/2012 7:39:22 PM PDT by 4rcane
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To: izzatzo

And even if we were as corrupt as dems, the MSM would NEVER give us a pass...


24 posted on 07/16/2012 7:46:30 PM PDT by GOPJ (Innocent people dying was the objective of Fast and Furious......... Ann Coulter)
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To: markomalley

I don’t know why the Republicans think they have to gain back the Senate to stop Obama’s agenda... Obama does as he wants.. he goes around Congress whenever he pleases.. If Republicans control both House and Senate... that will stop Obama?


25 posted on 07/16/2012 8:12:57 PM PDT by frnewsjunkie
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To: markomalley

save for later


26 posted on 07/16/2012 9:29:25 PM PDT by submarinerswife (Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, while expecting different results~Einstein)
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To: markomalley
So. When does Congress impeach this lawless bastard?

I know the Senate won't convict him. More than half of them are as bad as he is. But it is the thought that counts.

27 posted on 07/16/2012 10:02:00 PM PDT by Gritty (Obama's populism's so crude it channels not Teddy Roosevelt so much as Hugo Chavez-C.Krauthammer)
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To: conservative sympathizer

Unfortunately politicians have been looting the treasury to buy votes for many years - it’s just that now there really isn’t money to loot but doing it anyway.

He’s created such a giant mess that everyone is angry - even many Democrats are mad at him - and even prominent blacks are mad at the NAACP - hard to imagine a worse mess but if he’s re-elected we’ll find out.


28 posted on 07/16/2012 10:55:31 PM PDT by Aria ( 2008 wasn't an election - it was a coup d'etat.)
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To: conservative sympathizer

Unfortunately politicians have been looting the treasury to buy votes for many years - it’s just that now there really isn’t money to loot but doing it anyway.

He’s created such a giant mess that everyone is angry - even many Democrats are mad at him - and even prominent blacks are mad at the NAACP - hard to imagine a worse mess but if he’s re-elected we’ll find out.


29 posted on 07/16/2012 11:06:41 PM PDT by Aria ( 2008 wasn't an election - it was a coup d'etat.)
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To: markomalley

Are we expecting some political party or their leader to take them to task for this?

Stand up and tell the administration that this will not stand?


30 posted on 07/17/2012 7:00:17 AM PDT by listenhillary (Courts, law enforcement, roads and national defense should be the extent of government)
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