The Romney campaign spent last week claiming that the Obama administration is trying to “gut” the welfare reform law of the 90s. The Romney camp portrayed the administration as removing the work requirements included in that law, when all the administration did is offer states waivers to design new work programs if they choose.
During an interview with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd today, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad continued the parade of falsehoods, continually claiming that the administration single-handedly weakened work requirements in the welfare law, despite Todd’s protestations:
BRANSTAD: We reformed welfare in the 1990s, now the Obama administration’s trying to undo the work requirement.
TODD: Wait a minute, Gov. Branstad, I can’t let that go. They haven’t done that. [Crosstalk] You leveled a charge about the welfare work requirement. It turns out that’s not true. Where did you get your information?
BRANSTAD: It absolutely is. I was one of the governors that helped get it, and when we passed it, it was designed not to be waived. And now the President of the United States has, by executive order in July, weakened that which was very effective.
TODD: The waivers are for state governors. The waivers are for you. […] If governors weaken it to a certain point, the federal government yanks the waiver. […] Nothing about this issue, every charge that has been leveled about this welfare reform order that the president signed, every accusation that has been leveled by some Republicans have been proven to be not true.
BRANSTAD: Well, the fact of the matter is that the president did it. He didn’t have to take this action to weaken the strong work requirement that was passed.
TODD: It doesn’t weaken it…The works still there, governor, it’s still there.
Former President Bill Clinton, who signed the welfare reform law, called Romney’s charges “disappointing” and “not true.” CBS’s AdWatch added, “It’s a leap to assume that governors and legislators will seek to return to ‘plain old welfare’ and that the Obama administration will give them the go-ahead.”
When he wasn’t lying about how the welfare waivers would operate, Branstad was praising the 90s welfare reform law, which, in reality, has rendered aid programs incapable of getting funds to those who need it most in an economic downturn. Welfare aid used to reach 75 percent of families living in poverty, but during the heart of the Great Recession, fewer than 30 percent of impoverished families received help.