The House on Thursday passed a resolution condemning the Obama administration for allowing states to bypass rules requiring that many welfare recipients actively seek employment as a condition for receiving the cash benefits.
The measure passed on a mostly party-line vote of 250 to 164, all Republicans voted in favor along with 19 Democrats and it was opposed solely by Democrats.
The work requirement was part of welfare reform legislation passed by a Republican Congress in 1996 and signed into law by former President Bill Clinton.
Republicans say the work requirement was a key part of the overall reform, which requires that 50 percent of a state’s caseload be engaged in work. The waiver giving state’s more room in enforcing the work requirement was issued by the Health and Human Service Department (HHS) this summer.
Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and an author of the legislation, said it also specified that the work requirement could not be waived.
“That is because it was such an important part of the change we were trying to bring to welfare,” Camp said. “Now comes the administration saying we don’t have to go to congress to change the law.”
The Obama administration is “having unelected bureaucrats change the law of the land,” Camp said.
President Barack Obama needs to respect the separation of powers between the branches of government, said Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.).
“The president has said that if Congress will not act, he will do it alone,” Gowdy said. “No sir, you will not.”