On July 12 ,2012, the Health and Human Services Agency (HHS) announced it would allow states to apply for waivers of the current work requirement rules within TANF.
Republican Governors and Congressmen immediately criticized the plan as gutting the key aspect of the landmark welfare reform law of 1996. The democrats hit back saying the waiver gives states more flexibility and is no big deal.
The Heritage Foundation weighed in with a legal argument as to why the waivers are against the law.
The Secretary of HHS issued a letter to key Republican Congressmen saying "We will continue to hold states accountable for moving people from welfare to work".
That was less than satisfactory to the Congressmen who are drafting legislation to disallow the waivers.
And so it goes. We have such complex systems that we argue over work requirements in one of 12 programs. Meanwhile the other 11 programs have no work requirement whatsoever and have their own complex rules to argue about. So the Administration battles Congress, Democrats battle Republicans, states battle the federal government, and poverty levels remain unchanged. When are we going to reform this system?