By State Representative, Leon D. Young
Is there no end to Mitt Romney’s blatant lies and calculated political distortions? The Romney campaign is currently running a most disingenuous political ad that accuses President Obama of gutting the work requirement for individuals receiving welfare benefits.
Back in 1996, then President Bill Clinton signed into law a bipartisan Welfare Reform initiative, which many deemed as one of his administration’s political successes. It was intended “to help end welfare as we know it” by pushing welfare recipients to work in exchange for their benefits.
Romney’s TV fabrication goes as follows:
“On July 12, President Obama quietly announced a plan to gut welfare reform by dropping work requirements. Under Obama’s plan, you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job. They send you your welfare check, and ‘welfare to work’ goes back to being plain old welfare.”
What a crock of manure! Since 1996, welfare has been administered through block grants to states through a program called Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. TANF, as it’s called, limits how long families can get aid and requirements to eventually go to work. It also includes stringent reporting requirements for states to show they are successfully moving people off welfare and into the workforce.
Here’s the genesis for the lie: A memo from George Sheldon, the acting assistant secretary at Health and Human Services, said the department wanted to give the states more flexibility in meeting those [reporting] requirements. The memo notifies states of the secretary’s willingness to exercise her waiver authority … to allow states to test alternative and innovative strategies, policies, and procedures that are designed to improve employment outcomes for needy families.
Why would Mitt Romney interject the contentious issue of welfare reform into this presidential campaign? The answer is simple, it’s the old ‘divide and conquer’ stratagem – pit the hard-working middle class against the nation’s impoverished.
This deception is intended to distract the voters’ attention (and wrath) away from Romney’s self-serving record at Bain Capital, where he solidified his moniker as “Mr. One Percent.”
Romney’s claim that the president wants to rescind the work requirement for individuals receiving public benefits is a bald-face lie!