Text: H.R.6140 — 112th Congress (2011-2012)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (07/18/2012)


112th CONGRESS
2d Session
H. R. 6140

To prohibit waivers relating to compliance with the work requirements for the program of block grants to States for temporary assistance for needy families, and for other purposes.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
July 18, 2012

Mr. Camp (for himself, Mr. Kline, and Mr. Jordan) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means, and in addition to the Committee on Education and the Workforce, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


A BILL

To prohibit waivers relating to compliance with the work requirements for the program of block grants to States for temporary assistance for needy families, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Preserving Work Requirements for Welfare Programs Act of 2012”.

SEC. 2. Findings.

Congress finds the following:

(1) The bipartisan 1996 welfare reforms succeeded as a result of their pro-work focus, as demonstrated by the following:

(A) Research has shown that 65 percent of families receiving welfare through the former Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program, which lacked effective work requirements and was replaced by the 1996 welfare reform law (P.L. 104–193), remained on welfare for 8 or more years, and the average lifetime receipt of welfare for families then receiving benefits was 13 years.

(B) The 1996 welfare reform law replaced the failed AFDC program with the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant program, which made promoting work a central focus of each State’s efforts to assist low-income parents in achieving self-sufficiency.

(C) The 1996 welfare reforms resulted in—

(i) significant increases in the employment and earnings of single mothers;

(ii) record declines in welfare dependency as TANF rolls fell by more than 57 percent; and

(iii) significant reductions in child poverty in female-headed households, which even after the impact of a deep recession are still below pre-reform levels.

(2) The authors of the 1996 welfare reforms did not intend for States to be able to “waive” this pro-work focus, as indicated by the following:

(A) In the 1996 welfare reform law, Congress created specific new work requirements for welfare recipients.

(B) In the 1996 welfare reform law, Congress allowed States some limited waiver authority over only TANF State plan requirements which require the State to describe how they intend to carry out various TANF program requirements.

(C) In section 1115 of the Social Security Act, Congress specifically did not authorize States to seek, or the Secretary of Health and Human Services to award, waivers involving TANF work requirements. In section 415 of the Social Security Act, Congress specified that any waivers subsequently approved could not waive features of those work requirements.

(D) In a Congressional summary published immediately after enactment of the 1996 reforms, the authors of the 1996 welfare reform law summarized its intended treatment of waivers as follows: “Waivers granted after the date of enactment may not override provisions of the TANF law that concern mandatory work requirements.”.

(3) The recent Department of Health and Human Services Information Memorandum dated July 12, 2012, suggesting States may waive this pro-work focus should be immediately withdrawn by the Obama Administration, or repealed through this legislation, for the following reasons:

(A) In the 16 years since enactment of the 1996 welfare reforms, no previous Secretary of Health and Human Services has ever asserted that he or she has authority to grant waivers involving TANF work requirements.

(B) Despite this fact, and without any prior Obama Administration legislative proposal or consultation with Congress, on July 12, 2012, the Department of Health and Human Services unilaterally determined that the Secretary could permit States to waive statutory work requirements for welfare recipients.

(C) The Secretary should repeal the July 12, 2012 Information Memorandum and make it clear once again that States do not have authority to seek, and the Secretary does not have the authority to grant, waivers of work requirements under the TANF program, consistent with longstanding interpretation of TANF law.

SEC. 3. Prohibition on TANF waivers relating to compliance with the TANF work requirements.

(a) In general.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of Health and Human Services may not do the following:

(1) Finalize, implement, enforce, or otherwise take any action to give effect to the Information Memorandum dated July 12, 2012 (Transmittal No. TANF–ACF–IM–2012–03), or to any administrative action relating to the same subject matter set forth in the Information Memorandum or that reflects the same or similar policies as those set forth in the Information Memorandum.

(2) Authorize, approve, renew, modify, or extend any experimental, pilot, or demonstration project under section 1115 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1315) that waives compliance with a requirement of section 407 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 607) through a waiver of section 402 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 602) or that provides authority for an expenditure which would not otherwise be an allowable use of funds under a State program funded under part A of title IV of such Act (42 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) with respect to compliance with the work requirements in section 407 of such Act to be regarded as an allowable use of funds under that program for any period.

(b) Rescission of waivers.—Any waiver relating to the subject matter set forth in the Information Memorandum or described in subsection (a)(2) that is granted before the date of the enactment of this Act is hereby rescinded and shall be null and void.