Text: H.R.6140 — 112th Congress (2011-2012)

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Introduced in House (07/18/2012)


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[Congressional Bills 112th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 6140 Introduced in House (IH)]

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.
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