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Santorum calls Obama a ‘two-bit dictator’ over new welfare rules

By David Edwards
Wednesday, July 18, 2012 14:50 EDT
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Rick Santorum speaks to ABC News in a bowling shirt
 
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Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum says President Barack Obama is “like a two-bit dictator” for allowing states to try new approaches to make welfare more effective.

During an interview with ABC’s Jonathan Karl, Santorum blasted Obama for a Department of Health and Human Services policy directive that allowed states to apply for waivers to work requirements under the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program.

“You look at what this president — going out and saying, ‘I’m going to change the law on welfare. I’m going to eliminate the work requirement,’ something that we fought for, President Clinton signed, huge transformation of the welfare roles,” Santorum said.

“Probably the single greatest accomplishment in the last 20 years, welfare wise, and President Obama gets up and says, ‘I’m going to change the law by speaking,’” the former Pennsylvania senator opined. “This sounds like a two-bit dictator, not the president of the United States. You do not change the law by speaking!”

“This is a president who has put way to much authority in the president’s office.”

In a memorandum earlier this month, Department of Health and Human Services said it was exercising its waiver authority under the law to encourage “states to consider new, more effective ways to meet the goals of TANF, particularly helping parents successfully prepare for, find, and retain employment.”

Within a day, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney had accused Obama of wanting to “strip the established work requirements from welfare.”

But George Sheldon, acting assistant secretary for the Administration for Children and Families, defended the policy as something that had been asked for by both Republican and Democratic state officials.

“Federal rules dictate mind-numbing details about how to run a welfare-to-work program,” Sheldon wrote. “Most States and experts agree that these aren’t helpful. … We need state workers spending less time filling out data reports and more time helping parents find employment.”

“This new flexibility will strengthen welfare reform rules and the effectiveness of state efforts to connect families with work. Waivers that weaken or undercut welfare reform will not be approved. Waivers that seek to avoid time limits or other federal restrictions on when assistance may be provided will not be approved.”

Watch this video from ABC News, broadcast July 18, 2012.

(h/t: The Hill)

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
 
 
 
 
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