Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) mocked House Republicans on Wednesday for pushing legislation based on the widely discredited claim that President Barack Obama was scrapping a welfare work rule.
“There is no greater misuse of time than re-fighting the last election,” he said on the House floor. “The last election is just that, the last election. It’s over. Gov. Romney’s pollster said at the time, ‘We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers’ after it was pointed out there were so many mistakes and miscalculations in their proposal. Well, they might not have cared about the facts, but today I do.”
House Republicans proposed the Preserving the Welfare Work Requirement and TANF Extension Act of 2013, which prohibits the Obama Administration from waiving the work requirements in the the Temporary Assistant for Needy Families (TANF) program. Eighteen Democrats joined 228 Republicans to approve the bill on Wednesday.
The bill is based on the false claim that the Department of Health and Human Services intended to allow states to opt-out of the work requirements. The issue first emerged in 2012 and was used repeatedly by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, though fact-checkers and even some Republicanssaid the claims were untrue.
Neal noted the false claims were based on waivers requested by Republican governors.
The Department of Health and Human Services has offered to waive some federal regulations if states can prove it helps those enrolled in the welfare program obtain employment.
“The President is not dropping welfare work requires, he’s allowing the states to experiment,” Neil continued. “You would think our Republican friends would be entirely in favor of letting governor’s experiment on getting people back to work fairly quickly.”