They’re back! Congress is back in session after the August recess, but they will only be in town for a few weeks. While conservatives are usually happy with the idea of Congress staying out of session, there is much on the agenda we must pursue in order to undo Obama’s destructive policies. We must not squander our time on suspension bills banning the sale of billfish. Any moment of the session not spent exposing Obama’s welfare economy is a lost moment.
There are many legislative deadlines confronting this congress. There is the September 30 deadline for the FY 2013 budget as well as the farm/food stamp bill. Of course, we have the tax cliff at the end of the year. A little known deadline is the expiration of the main cash welfare program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), at the end of September. The last 5-year bill expired in 2010, and the program has been running on temporary extensions for the past two years. Republicans must not pass an extension without blocking Obama’s recent gutting of the welfare work requirements.
On July 12, in one of the most egregious administrative power grabs of his tenure, Obama’s HHS issued a memo to states granting them waiver authority to jettison the welfare work requirements that served as the cornerstone of the bipartisan welfare reform in 1996. Despite the lies of the administration and the “fact checkers” asserting that Obama did not gut welfare, Robert Rector has already blown that up based upon the way the law was written in ‘96. Last week, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) proved him correct, and ruled that Obama’s waiver is subject to a resolution of disapproval from Congress under the Congressional Review Act. Pursuant to this law, Obama must submit his rule change before Congress so they can vote on a resolution of disapproval. Congress has 60 days to act and can bring up the rule in the Senate under expedited procedures without the requirement of 60 votes to pass.
This is an 80% issue. It’s also an issue that has united all branches of the party. Even those who refuse to hit Obama on other issues have aggressively targeted him on welfare reform. It’s something that clearly resonates with the American people, particularly with swing voters. What better way to spend the remaining days of the congressional session than by exposing Obama as the Welfare President – one who believes that welfare is an ideal, not even a necessary evil.
Republicans in both houses have two options to pursue. They can take up a privileged resolution to disapprove of Obama’s waiver. This would only require 51 votes in the Senate. They need just 4 Democrats to take this to Obama’s desk and force him to issue a suicidal veto. This vote will also be a death-knell for vulnerable Democrat senators like Claire McCaskill, Sherrod Brown, Bill Nelson, and Jon Tester. They will be forced to vote against the bill and jeopardize their careers or pass the bill and place Obama into a nuclear reactive box.
Alternatively, or concurrently, they can simply pass a TANF extension with a rider banning Obama from waiving the work requirements for state welfare rolls. If Senate Democrats want to block the extension in order to support gutting of welfare reform, that is a fight that all Republicans should be willing to pursue.
Republicans have already punted on the fight over the budget and Obamacare. Welfare reform is a fight we must not avoid, especially before the election. There is no time like the present to go on offense, especially with the lack of a coherent conservative message in this campaign. It cuts to the core of the Obama presidency. He doesn’t want people to work and earn a paycheck; he wants them to receive a food stamp so they can create a permanent Democrat dependency coalition.
Let’s divide the left, not our conservative coalition.