In the 16 years since the creation of TANF, no administration has concluded that they have the authority to waive these work requirements. Any changes to the 1996 welfare reform law have taken an act of Congress.
We knew President Obama was out of bounds, and so we asked the legal experts at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to look into it. What’d they find? They confirmed that the administration had gone too far and must submit this change to Congress under the Congressional Review Act (CRA). The CRA ensures an administration cannot radically alter a law without Congressional input.