The Romney campaign is chastising the Obama administration for announcing that it may allow states to waive a federal requirement that welfare recipients engage in “work activities.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday that it will consider requests from states wishing to waive the requirement, which were at the heart of the welfare reform law negotiated between congressional Republicans and President Bill Clinton in 1996.
In a memo to states, the department said the change will spur state-level welfare innovation and provide the increased flexibility in enforcement that many states want.
The new policy would allow states to embark on their own welfare reform projects, during which they would be able to waive enforcement of the work mandate. Such projects would last no longer than five years.
But Republicans are slamming the decision as an executive overreach and a major step toward undoing bipartisan reforms achieved during the Clinton administration.
“The president’s action is completely misdirected,” Mr. Romney said in a statement. “Work is a dignified endeavor, and the linkage of work and welfare is essential to prevent welfare from becoming a way of life.”