After a brief reprieve, the racially-charged Romney/Ryan welfare lie made a furious comeback last week, and will probably remain an important part of the Republican campaign strategy through Election Day.
But the story is not without some new twists. On Capitol Hill, for example, House Republicans are pushing new legislation intended to block the Obama administration’s waivers. It’s obviously a cheap election-year stunt, but the underlying message is pretty remarkable, even for the congressional GOP – they want to prevent governors from having flexibility in trying welfare-to-work programs that don’t weaken work requirements.
It’s not just counter to conservative principles, it’s childish – to spite the president, House Republicans want to take experimentation power away from Republican governors.
And it gets worse. msnbc’s Zach Roth reports today on the even deeper cynicism.
Earlier this summer, House Republicans themselves voted for a bill that really could allow states to end welfare’s work requirement, according to an authoritative and nonpartisan congressional analysis.
In June, On June 7, all 23 Republicans on the House Education and Workforce Committee – including prominent members like Buck McKeon, Duncan Hunter, and Joe “You Lie!” Wilson – voted for a measure to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). According to a memo produced by the Congressional Research Service – a nonpartisan research arm of Congress – and posted online (pdf) by committee Democrats, the bill would allow states to consolidate money for welfare and other work-related programs into a single “Workforce Investment Fund.”
That would then mean that the welfare funds, known as TANF funds, were no longer subject to the requirements under which they’d previously existed.
Yep, House Republicans, earlier this summer and before Team Romney crafted its notorious lie, voted to ease the work requirement in welfare law. GOP policymakers actually did what Romney falsely accused Obama of doing. Amazing.
In the meantime, if you read the fine print on the Romney/Ryan attack ads that repeat the welfare lie, you’ll notice they rely on one person, the Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector, for support. American Bridge 21st Century takes a closer look at Rector’s scholarship in an interesting report today.