Obama is ending work requirement in welfare
Recently, the Mitt Romney campaign has spent millions purchasing advertising that states that President Obama is ending the work requirement for welfare recipients.
I feel that this is an inaccurate statement of fact, and I would like to debate the subject.
I will adopt the position of "Con," since I want to challenge the premise. I ask that Pro defend Governor Mitt Romney's claim that President Obama has ended the work requirement for welfare recipients.
I am willing to be fairly relaxed concerning any rules for this debate, and am willing to honor any agreements made in the comments section. My only real request of my partner is that we set aside the final round for summaries of our best arguments - as a convenience to readers who may wish to vote on our performances. I feel that such summaries allow readers to more easily digest our arguments quickly, and allows them to understand our emphasis.
Pro may by DownloadNSave" href="../debates/Under-Obama-a-4000-tax-on-the-middle-class/1/">begin arguments at once, in R1, if they so choose; this is a short debate at only three rounds. I don't expect to need more than two rounds for my presentation.
I present this debate in order that I may discuss, in the company of intelligent persons, a statement that I feel was an intentional attempt to deceive the (already gullible) American electorate.
Under the Obama regime, The Health and Human Services (HHS) Agency issued a memorandum on July 12th, 2012
TO:States administering the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program and other interested parties
SUBJECT:Guidance concerning waiver and expenditure authority under Section 1115
Section 1115 allows for waiver of compliance with section 402 of the Social Security Act to the extent and for the period necessary to enable a state to carry out an approved project. The statute also provides authority for costs of such projects which would not otherwise be an allowable use of funds under Part A of Title IV to be regarded as an allowable use of funds, to the extent and for the period approved.
As specified in statute, the purpose of Part A is to increase the flexibility of states in operating a program designed to: (1) provide assistance to needy families so that children may be cared for in their own homes or in the homes of relatives; (2) end the dependence of needy parents on government benefits by promoting job preparation, work, and marriage; (3) prevent and reduce the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies and establish annual numerical goals for preventing and reducing the incidence of these pregnancies; and (4) encourage the formation and maintenance of two-parent families.
section 402(a)(1)(A)(iii) requires that the state plan "[e]nsure that parents and caretakers receiving assistance under the program engage in work activities in accordance with section 407
A waiver of said section is a waiver of the (a) work requirement for welfare.
Therefore, under Obama the department of HHS has called for a specific waiver of a work requirement established in the 1996 Act approved by Clinton.
I want to express gratitude that my debate partner has decided to pick up this debate – I am eager to argue the subject.
Before beginning my argument, however, I need to point out a few things.
Much of the argument presented as the work of my partner was plagiarized from Huffington Post.com, and Breitbart.com, and do not represent the original thoughts of my partner.
Consider this excerpt, from my partners Opening:
The welfare reform law that President Clinton signed in 1996 changed the name of the federal welfare program to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). It added a work component, requiring recipients to find employment within a proscribed time period
To the wording from a recent Huffington Post article:
The welfare reform law that President Clinton signed in 1996 changed the name of the federal welfare program to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). It added a work component, requiring recipients to find employment within a proscribed time period…
Additionally, the following also appears in my partners Opening:
July 12th, President Obama quietly announced a plan to gut welfare reform by dropping work requirements. Under Obama"s plan, you wouldn"t have to work and wouldn"t have to train for a job. They just send you your welfare check.
Compared to an article appearing on Breitbart.com…
But on July 12th, President Obama quietly announced a plan to gut welfare reform by dropping work requirements. Under Obama's plan, you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job. They just send you your welfare check…
Considering this, I will argue that my partner has not yet presented his first argument. Nevertheless, I am reluctant to name this contest “won” until I have at least presented an argument of my own.
To this end, I will use one of the sources my partner copied, which explains that the welfare funds are paid out to states in block grants, which are then used at the state level as they see fit, more or less. The Obama administration has agreed to allow work requirements that are more effective than those implemented by the federal government to be used by states instead.  Far from gutting the work requirements, this action actually allows states to strengthen them.
To quote the article: The July 12th “announcement allows states to propose alternative ways to increase the numbers of TANF recipients they are moving into the workforce under the TANF program, or otherwise more effectively meet TANF goals. States still must meet a minimum percentage of TANF recipients who are employed. The time limit for beneficiaries receiving TANF benefits remains the same. BUT, states can propose (not automatically implement, because the waiver has to be approved), alternative ways to increase their workforce goals under TANF.” 
FactCheck.Org says the following:
“A Mitt Romney TV ad claims the Obama administration has adopted “a plan to gut welfare reform by dropping work requirements.” The plan does neither of those things.
Work requirements are not simply being “dropped.” States may now change the requirements — revising, adding or eliminating them — as part of a federally approved state-specific plan to increase job placement.” 
And finally, Politifact rates the claim that Obama has waived "the work requirement for welfare” as a ‘Pants on Fire’ statement. The article points out that, “In reality, the Obama administration has said it will consider proposals from states that are aimed at finding better ways of getting welfare recipients into jobs.” 
Considering all of this, my argument as of this round is:
The Obama Administration waiver allows states more flexibility in getting welfare recipients back to work, and to implement more effective strategies than those required by the federal government. This does not weaken the work requirements – it strengthens them. It also puts shifts more control over these programs to the states, which are often better suited to understand the needs of local residents.
His argument is "Obama is ending work requirement in welfare."
"The Obama Administration waiver allows states more flexibility in getting welfare recipients back to work, and to implement more effective strategies than those required by the federal government. This does not weaken the work requirements " it strengthens them. It also puts shifts more control over these programs to the states, which are often better suited to understand the needs of local residents."
"flexibility" is the key word in my friends argument.
Is it not reasonable to assume that flexibility in regard to the waiver could give state entities the ability to deem an individual or several individuals exemption from a work requirement on a case by case basis.
Such vagueness gives birth to miss use, and could offer some explanation to the record 46 million Americans who are on food stamps today.
Therefore, Obama is ending work requirement in welfare, in favor of state "flexibility" in regards to the distribution of TANF entitlements.
I repeat: A waiver of section 402 is a waiver of the (a) work requirement for welfare.
I thank my partner for the timely response.
Before I begin my closing summary, I will attempt to rebut a few of my partners arguments.
First among these is this:
My opponent tries to hard to discredit the validity of my argument because I lacked citations from left-wing articles used basically as filler in my previous post. This a classic case of form over matter because his argument holds no water here.
I was not accusing my partner of neglecting to include citations, or for presenting only one side of the subject. I was, and still am, accusing him of plagarism, and of attempting to pass the work of the staff at Breitbart.com off as his own. If this was an inadvertent act of absent-mindedness, then I am willing to accept the explanation. However, I am in no way questioning the validitiy of the arguments presented on the grounds that I dissaprove of the identity of the person making the argument.
The Question of Flexibility
My partner attempts to argue that allowing states the flexibility to include more strict work requirements is a means by which weaker requirements are to be implemented. It is an obvoiusly absurd argument. As each of the fact-checking websites that I used as sources, and the Huffington Post article that my partner plagarized, all pointed out - the waiver will only be granted if the state-level work requirements are stronger than the current federal requirements. Far from "ending the work requirement," this rule only allows the work requirement to become stronger. Under the new rules, it is actually illegal to weaken these requirements. (See the sources I listed above for proof of this.)
A waiver of section 402 is a waiver of the (a) work requirement for welfare.
Of course it is. But this act does not "end the work requirement in welfare." This act removes federal restrictions that would otherwise limit the work requirement to no more than what had been required under federal law. Many states may have work requiements that are more stingient than the Federal requirements, and now - thanks to President Obama - these states are not required to weaken their own standards.
What does the new rule actually say?
The new rules allow states to apply for a waiver that may allow them to bypass certain specific work requirements imposed by the federal government as a prerequisite for receiving block grants to assist them with support for the needy. However, in order to have the waiver request approved, the state must develop a “more efficient or effective means to promote employment" than those demanded by the federal regulations. 
Making the work requirement "more efficient or effective" is not the same thing as "gutting" or "ending" the requirement.
According to FactCheck.org:
“I do not think it ends welfare reform or strongly undermines welfare reform,” said Haskins, co-director of the Brookings Institution’s Center on Children and Families. “Each state has to say what they will do and how that reform … will either increase employment or lead to better employment” of recipients.
The Obama policy responds to state officials who say they can improve job placement and retention if freed from the time-consuming process of documenting and verifying that recipients are engaged in those work activities.
“In times of reduced funding, waivers may be the best method to allow states to find effective and efficient approaches to assist the unemployed to find and keep work,” the Utah Department of Workforce Services wrote to federal welfare officials last year.” 
Therefore, my closing summary:
The waivers in question must, by law, be awarded only to those states that have developed a "more efficient or effective" means of getting welfare recipients back to work. This is the opposite of ending the requirements.
krausj1 forfeited this round.
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