As per the course, it's a blatant lie. A blatant lie, in that the Administration has announced that it is encouraging the states to devise programs of their own which will achieve the goals of TANF, "particularly helping parents successfully prepare for, find, and retain employment." As the Administration explained:
The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is interested in more efficient or effective means to promote employment entry, retention, advancement, or access to jobs that offer opportunities for earnings and advancement that will allow participants to avoid dependence on government benefits. The following are examples of projects that states may want to consider – these are illustrative only:And, of course, as The Washington Post noted, "[t]he rules can’t be expanded to include people who don’t currently qualify. To get a waiver, a governor must pledge that his or her proposed plan will move 20 percent more people from welfare to work. If no progress towards that target is made in a year, the waiver will be revoked." And, to again quote the Post, "Five states, including two with Republican governors — Nevada and Utah — have asked the current Health and Human Services Department about waivers."
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.
Note that this is not a comprehensive list, and HHS will consider other projects consistent with the statute and the guidance provided in this IM. HHS is especially interested in testing approaches that build on existing evidence on successful strategies for improving employment outcomes.
This of course is totally the same as abolishing the work requirement, amirite?
In fact, it's not even remotely the same. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities contends that it will strengthen welfare reform.
And--you knew this was coming, right?--guess who signed a letter from the Republican Governors Association advocating for the passage of the amendment that allowed the exercise of such waiver authority, stating that "Increased waiver authority, allowable work activities, availability of partial work credit and the ability to coordinate state programs are all important aspects of moving recipients from welfare to work"?
You guessed Mittens? You were right!
The consummate hypocrisy of the man is breathtaking, really. He advocates before a GOP Congress that the President should have authority, the bill passes, and now the announcement that the Administration will consider requests to exercise that authority of course means that Obama wants to uncouple welfare from work--"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.” I'm amazed they didn't add, "and a 40-ouncer!"