by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The authors of welfare reform, both legislators and staffers, are on record as saying that they intended to prohibit any waiver of work requirements. Representative David Camp, who helped write the law as a member of the Ways and Means Committee, says “it contained specific language prohibiting any administration from granting states waivers from the work requirement.”
The administration, on the other hand, contends that they have found a loophole because the work requirements are mentioned, tangentially, in another section of the law over which the administration does have waiver power. That may or may not stand up in court, but it certainly seems to violate the spirit of the welfare-reform law.
While much of this might seem like an arcane legal dispute, it is part of a disturbing trend. The Obama administration has developed a penchant for unilateral action that would make even the most ardent advocate of an imperial presidency blush. On issue after issue, the president insists that “we can’t wait.” He won’t wait for a Congress that may not agree with his ideas for remaking America; he will simply act all by himself.