Mitt Romney is lying again. This time he’s blowing the tired “welfare queen” dogwhistle and falsely claiming President Obama is trying to remove the work requirement out of what was called workfare when President Clinton originally reformed the federal welfare program.
As usual, nothing could be farther from the truth. What President Obama has in fact done is give the states some flexibility in increasing the effectiveness of their programs to help welfare recipients get jobs and get off welfare altogether. Indeed, President Obama is doing this at the request of Republican governors who found the federal requirements too restrictive in designing their own programs to do so.
Furthermore, these more flexible interpretations that President Obama approved are exactly the same sort of waivers Mitt Romney was lobbying for in 2005 when he signed a letter requesting they be allowed while he was governor of Massachusetts. A letter that was signed by 28 other Republican governors at the time.
The Romney campaign is now running a completely false ad claiming the waivers will allow people to collect welfare checks without any restrictions whatsoever. Again, this is a horrible lie that is solely designed to drum up anger against poor people.
This is the truth about President Obama’s welfare waivers:
Under the President’s policy, states can build the welfare to work program that is best for them, and can apply for waivers from federal requirements that get in their way. This new policy cannot be used to weaken welfare reform: Waivers that weaken or undercut welfare reform will not be approved. Waivers will not be granted to avoid time limits on when assistance may be provided. The only waivers that will be granted will test approaches that can do a better job at promoting work among families receiving assistance.
This raises the question, why doesn’t Mitt Romney simply give us the specific details about his proposals and run on those instead of trying to trick the voters by constantly lying about President Obama’s solutions to our problems?