Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) issued a statement following the U.S Department of Health and Human Services’ recent announcement that it will roll-back an Obama-era rule allowing states to opt out of work requirements for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) beneficiaries — a key element of the 1996 welfare reform law.
“With a stroke of a pen, the Obama administration bypassed Congress to undermine a crucial element of landmark, bipartisan welfare reform aimed at helping Americans exit the welfare rolls,” Hatch said. “Strong work requirements encourage self-sufficiency and help beneficiaries reenter the workforce. These requirements have proven successful — since 1996 nearly 9 million individuals have dropped off of welfare rolls. The move by HHS to rescind the Obama-era rule and allow states to skirt this important element will better encourage and support vulnerable families. I applaud Secretary Price and the administration’s effort to restore the intent of bipartisan welfare reform.”
Hatch and then-House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) introduced legislation to limit the Obama administration’s authority to waive welfare requirements in July 2012. Hatch and Camp also introduced companion Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolutions of disapproval to overturn the rule later that year.