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Congressman Stephen Fincher

Representing the 8th District of TENNESSEE

A Hand Up, Not a Hand Out

Jul 20, 2012
Weekly Updates

A Hand Up, Not a Hand Out:

President Obama quietly changed a policy last week that affects how our tax dollars are spent on the welfare program. The new policy, under the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), makes receiving welfare easier by gutting the work requirements that are the foundation of the 1996 welfare reform law.   

The underlying concept of the 1996 welfare reform is that able-bodied adults are required to work or prepare for work in order to receive welfare payments. From 1996 until now, welfare casework has dropped by nearly half and employment has increased as federal work requirements within the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) law encourage individuals to stand on their own two feet.The work requirement is a key provision in promoting a society that provides a hand up, not a hand out. 

The President’s new policy change is very disturbing. We know in analyzing the data the reformed welfare program has successfully reduced the number of people receiving government assistance, while ensuring the neediest have a safety net.  This action begs the question, why would the President change a policy that has been tremendously effective?

Washington needs to keep the welfare work requirement in place. Washington must seek ways to promote independence, not dependence, on government programs. Breaking the cycle of poverty begins with a solid message that work and economic independence is expected. Bottom line, if you can work; you should. If you can work but chose government welfare, you are taking from families that really are in need of assistance.  One has to wonder what the President’s motives are by allowing able-bodied people to take from the neediest.

Audit the Federal Reserve:

On Wednesday, I questioned Chairman Ben Bernanke about H.R. 459, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2011, of which I am a co-sponsor, and would require an audit of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and of the Federal Reserve banks. Do you think we need to audit the Fed? Take my poll here: