The Romney ad following this post has already been debunked by all the major news organizations and called a lie by many. And now, some Republicans are stepping up to the plate and calling out Mitt Romney for the lies he is telling. Ron Haskins, the Republican who was a senior adviser to President Bush on welfare policies, is the latest Republican to disagree with Romney’s attacks.
Mitt Romney’s latest television ad attacks the Obama administration for announcing a “plan to gut welfare reform by dropping work requirements.” It’s a strong allegation, but according to a former Republican congressional aide who was key to crafting welfare reform in the 1990s, it’s also not true.
“There’s no plausible scenario under which it really constitutes a serious attack on welfare reform,” Ron Haskins, who is now co-director of the Brookings Institution’s Center on Children and Families, said in an interview with NPR that aired on Wednesday.
Haskins spent 14 years on the staff of the House Ways and Means Committee’s Human Resources Subcommittee, first as welfare counsel to the Republican staff, then as the subcommittee’s staff director. In 2002, he was President George W. Bush’s senior adviser on welfare policy.
Welfare, formally known as the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, is administered by states within federal rules. Last month, the Department of Health and Human Services invited states to apply for waivers from some rules in order to run “demonstration projects” so that states could “consider new, more effective ways to meet the goals of TANF, particularly helping parents successfully prepare for, find, and retain employment.”
Haskins noted that the requirements states have to meet in order to receive the waivers are quite rigorous.
“First of all, the states have to apply individually for waivers,” he said. “And they have to explain in detail, sometimes using data, why this approach would lead to either more employment or better jobs for people who are trying to welfare or get off welfare.”
As The Huffington Post’s Arthur Delaney has pointed out, this waiver policy was sought out by Republican governors. In a release defending its waiver request from conservative backlash last month, the office of Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) said, “Utah’s request for a waiver stems from a desire for increased customization of the program to maximize employment among Utah’s welfare recipients.”
In 2005, as Massachusetts governor, Romney also signed a letter in support of a waiver policy — a fact left out of his new TV ad.
Here’s the ad: