In December of 1996, Bill Clinton addressed his signature bipartisan welform reform acheivement:
I came to office determined to end welfare as we know it, to replace welfare checks with paychecks. Even before I signed the welfare reform bill, we were working with States to test reform strategies, giving 43 States waivers from Federal rules to experiment with reforms that required work, imposed time limits, and demanded personal responsibility. And we were toughening child support enforcement, increasing collections by 50 percent over the last 4 years. That's about $4 billion.
We were determined to move millions from welfare to work, and our strategy has worked. I am pleased to announce today that there are now 2.1 million fewer people on welfare than on the day I took the oath of office. That is the biggest drop in the welfare rolls in history.
Some of these reductions have been even more striking. The welfare rolls have dropped 41 percent in Wisconsin, 38 percent in Indiana—two States where we granted landmark waivers to launch welfare reform experiments.
Throughout the country we're working to make responsibility a way of life, not an option. That means millions of people are on their way to building lives with the structure, purpose, meaning, and dignity that work gives. And that is something to celebrate.
In 2003 an analysis was done and that bill was credited with a substantial drop in overall poverty, child poverty, severe poverty, welfare dependence, and an increase in employment, among other things. (Source- Heritage - Charts at that link)
In mid-July 2012, by policy directive, the Obama administration gutted that law of the work requirement.
At the time, Mitt Romney offered the following statement:
“President Obama now wants to strip the established work requirements from welfare. The success of bipartisan welfare reform, passed under President Clinton, has rested on the obligation of work. The President's action is completely misdirected. Work is a dignified endeavor, and the linkage of work and welfare is essential to prevent welfare from becoming a way of life.”
Today, Romney is finally addressing the topic with more than just a statement or two, with video and a plan to put more people back to work and "will restore the bipartisan work requirement in welfare so that workers have the dignity of a job and not just a handout."
Narrator- "In 1996, President Clinton and a bipartisan Congress helped end welfare as we know it. But on July 12th, President Obama quietly announced a plan to gut welfare reform by dropping work requirements. Under Obama’s plan, you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job. They just send you your welfare check. And welfare to work goes back to being plain old welfare.
Statement to reporters from Romney policy director Lanhee Chen:
"Unfortunately, not everyone was enthusiastic about welfare reform. For instance, a man named Barack Obama took to the floor of the Illinois State Senate to announce his opposition. A devoted believer in old-school, big-government liberalism, Mr. Obama had no interest in embracing the welfare reform package that linked welfare to work. Now as president, with an economy struggling, an election looming, and a dispirited liberal base in need of encouragement, he has decided to turn back the clock."
The ad facts:
AD FACTS: Script For “Right Choice” VOICEOVER: “In 1996, President Clinton and a bipartisan Congress helped end welfare as we know it.” VIDEO TEXT: “1996 Welfare Reform: ‘Unprecedented Success’”
· The Washington Post Headline: “Welfare Reform’s Unprecedented Success” (Bill Archer, “Welfare Reform’s Unprecedented Success,” The Washington Post, 8/10/98)
VOICEOVER: “By requiring work for welfare.” VIDEO TEXT: “Clinton’s Plan: Requiring Work For Welfare”
· Former President Bill Clinton Said The Law Included “Firm, But Fair Work Requirements.” “Today, I have signed into law H.R. 3734, the ‘Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996’…Most important, this Act is tough on work. Not only does it include firm but fair work requirements, it provides $4 billion more in child care than the vetoed bills—so that parents can end their dependency on welfare and go to work—and maintains health and safety standards for day care providers.” (President Bill Clinton, Statement, 8/22/96)
VOICEOVER: “But on July 12th, President Obama quietly announced a plan to gut welfare reform by dropping work requirements.” VIDEO TEXT: “Obama Guts Welfare Reform”
· The Heritage Foundation Headline: “Obama Guts Welfare Reform” (Robert Rector and Kiki Bradley, “Obama Guts Welfare Reform,” The Heritage Foundation, 7/12/12)
· The Associated Press Headline: “Obama Administration Opens The Door For States To Seek Major Changes In Welfare-To-Work Law”(Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, “Obama Administration Opens The Door For States To Seek Major Changes In Welfare-To-Work Law,” The Associated Press, 7/13/12)
VIDEO TEXT: “Obama Drops Work Requirements” · Obama Administration Department Of Health And Human Services: “HHS Has Authority To Waive Compliance … And Authorize A State To Test Approaches And Methods Other Than Those Set Forth In Section 407 [Work Requirements].” “While the TANF work participation requirements are contained in section 407, section 402(a)(1)(A)(iii) requires that the state plan ‘[e]nsure that parents and caretakers receiving assistance under the program engage in work activities in accordance with section 407.’ Thus, HHS has authority to waive compliance with this 402 requirement and authorize a state to test approaches and methods other than those set forth in section 407, including definitions of work activities and engagement, specified limitations, verification procedures, and the calculation of participation rates.” (Information Memorandum, “Guidance Concerning Waiver And Expenditure Authority Under Section 1115,” Department Of Health And Human Services, 7/12/12)
VOICEOVER: “Under Obama’s plan, you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job. They just send you your welfare check.”
VIDEO TEXT: “Obama’s Plan: You Wouldn’t Have To Work”
VIDEO TEXT: “Obama’s Plan: Wouldn’t Have To Train For A Job”
VIDEO TEXT: “They Just Send You Your Welfare Check” · Obama Administration Department Of Health And Human Services: “Negotiated Employment Outcomes In Lieu Of Participation Rate Requirements … Alternative Approach To Measuring Participation … Comprehensive Universal Engagement System In Lieu Of Certain Participation Requirements.” “The following are examples of projects that states may want to consider – these are illustrative only: Projects that improve coordination with other components of the workforce investment system, including programs operated under the Workforce Investment Act, or to test an innovative approach to use performance-based contracts and management in order to improve employment outcomes; Projects that demonstrate attainment of superior employment outcomes if a state is held accountable for negotiated employment outcomes in lieu of participation rate requirements; Projects under which a state would count individuals in TANF-subsidized jobs but no longer receiving TANF assistance toward participation rates for a specified period of time in conjunction with an evaluation of the effectiveness of a subsidized jobs strategy; Projects that improve collaboration with the workforce and/or post-secondary education systems to test multi-year career pathways models for TANF recipients that combine learning and work; Projects that demonstrate strategies for more effectively serving individuals with disabilities, along with an alternative approach to measuring participation and outcomes for individuals with disabilities; Projects that test the impact of a comprehensive universal engagement system in lieu of certain participation rate requirements; Projects that test systematically extending the period in which vocational educational training or job search/readiness programs count toward participation rates, either generally or for particular subgroups, such as an extended training period for those pursuing a credential. The purpose of such a waiver would be to determine through evaluation whether a program that allows for longer periods in certain activities improves employment outcomes.” (Information Memorandum, “Guidance Concerning Waiver And Expenditure Authority Under Section 1115,” Department Of Health And Human Services, 7/12/12)
VOICEOVER: “And welfare to work goes back to being plain old welfare.”
VIDEO TEXT: “Welfare To Work” VIDEO TEXT: “Welfare”
· Brookings Institution’s Ron Haskins: “Emphasis On Work, Time Limits, And Sanctions Against States That Did Not Place A Large Fraction Of Its Caseload In Work Programs … Was A Historic Reversal Of The Entitlement Welfare Represented By AFDC.” “The most important reform was the replacement of the old Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program with the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The research on TANF yields a coherent picture that will almost certainly stand the test of time. With its emphasis on work, time limits, and sanctions against states that did not place a large fraction of its caseload in work programs and against individuals who refused to meet state work requirements, TANF was a historic reversal of the entitlement welfare represented by AFDC.” (Ron Haskins, “The Outcomes Of 1996 Welfare Reform, Testimony, House Committee On Ways And Means, 7/19/06)
VIDEO TEXT: “Romney’s Plan: Work For Welfare” VOICEOVER: “Mitt Romney will restore the work requirement because it works.” MITT ROMNEY: “I’m Mitt Romney and I approve this message.”