Surprise! While lapdog media focused on Bain, Obama gutted welfare reform law

Why wait for the traditional Friday news dump when a Thursday dominated by the Obama campaign’s smears will do? If you missed this news drowned out by Team Obama’s cries of “Romney is a felon” yesterday, you’re not alone.

The Obama administration issued a policy directive that obliterates one of the most successful aspects of Clinton-era welfare reform: the work requirement. Welcome to dependency-palooza.

“Chirp, chirp, chirp,” sang the lapdog media.

In a quiet move Thursday — barely noted beyond the conservative press — the Obama administration “released an official policy directive rewriting the welfare reform law of 1996,” according to Robert Rector, a welfare policy expert at the Heritage Foundation.

The administration’s action means “the end of welfare reform as we know it,” in Rector’s words.

More from The Heritage Foundation on the administration’s latest flouting of the law:

Today the Obama Administration issued a new directive stating that the traditional TANF work requirements can be waived or overridden by a legal device called the section 1115 waiver authority under the Social Security law (42 U.S.C. 1315).

Section 1115 states that “the Secretary may waive compliance with any of the requirements” of specified parts of various laws. But this is not an open-ended authority: Any provision of law that can be waived under section 1115 must be listed in section 1115 itself. The work provisions of the TANF program are contained in section 407 (entitled, appropriately, “mandatory work requirements”). Critically, this section, as well as most other TANF requirements, are deliberately not listed in section 1115; they are not waiveable.

Read the full “information memorandum” issued by the Department of Health and Human Services. Much like Obama’s DREAM decree that granted deportation waivers to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants, this welfare gutting bypasses the legislature in a sickening display of executive overreach.

So why now?

Speaker Boehner released this statement.

“By gutting the work requirements in President Clinton’s signature welfare reform law, President Obama is admitting his economic policies have failed.

“While President Clinton worked with Congress in a bipartisan way on welfare reform and economic opportunity, President Obama has routinely ignored Republican proposals, rejected House-passed jobs bills, and imposed an agenda that’s helped keep the unemployment rate above eight percent for 41 months. Instead of working with Republicans to boost job creation, the president is simply disregarding the requirement that welfare recipients find work.

“Welfare reform was an historic, bipartisan success – this move by the Obama administration is a partisan disgrace.”

So, Bill Clinton, what say you?

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