ICYMI: Highlights From Conference Call With Fmr. House Speaker Gingrich on Obama Gutting Welfare Reform
Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich:
“Thank you for giving me a chance to talk about both the history of temporary assistance for needy families and also why the Obama decision to unilaterally waive the work requirements is so outrageous. The fact is, that Section 407 was written not to be waivable. They used a gimmick in order to try to waive it but it was deliberately written not to be waivable for a practical reason. The people who were demanding that we have welfare reform to move people towards work and study deeply distrusted Liberals who we were convinced would immediately go back to the pre-1996 model and begin to waive things so that at one time bed rest, getting a massage, you name it, a list of things that met work requirements was absurd…
“Remember that hardcore Liberals like Barack Obama were deeply opposed to the bill and even after Bill Clinton agreed to sign the final version half of the Democratic majority in the House voted no and if you go back and read what they were saying, there’s a deep, deep bitter opposition to work requirements on the hardcore Left…So, we were consciously trying to create a framework in which we were moving people and I think there is a general agreement today in fact Obama himself even admitted that one of his mistakes was opposing it. Ironically, at the time he was running for president and since his decision, he decided to change the very thing that he was wrong to oppose.
“But the fact is, most people today agree that this has been the most successful Conservative reform in modern times. Two out of three people on welfare went to work or went to school, incomes went up, child abuse dropped. The number of children in poverty dropped 25%. And as families went to work they increased their income, they got mobility back into society, left dependency. So when Obama whose entire record as president has focused on increasing the number of people on food stamps, increasing the amount of dependency, attacking the people that have created jobs, when Obama unilaterally issues a work waiver, frankly everybody on the Right that has been involved with this. I would say Robert Recker at Heritage who has a very long history of helping to conceptualize and develop this bill, all of these folks will be able to tell you, that our immediate assumption is he is setting up a dramatic reduction in the work requirement because it fits ideologically what they have been saying….
“The two Republican governors have both said bluntly that they did not ask for this. The White House hiding behind the two Republican governors is baloney. The letter that Mitt Romney signed as governor along with twenty-eight other Republican governors was in the legislative process not asking for Executive Order and was actually referring to a bill that would have increased work requirement from 50 to 70 percent. So for Obama who wants to reduce the work requirement to hide behind attacking Romney’s letter which was about a bill that increased the work requirement just shows you the level of dishonesty the Obama team is reduced to in their desperate effort to get reelected. So I’m glad to try and set the record straight as somebody that was deeply involved.
“I just want to say one last thing to Clinton being the nominating speaker at the Democratic National Convention which I think is one of the most delicious examples of irony in modern times. Bill Clinton as the Governor of Arkansas learned that you have to negotiate with the Legislative Branch. Much of as he would have liked to get around the Constitution. He was actually pretty prepared to work with us and we negotiated very long and hard to get welfare reform done. We negotiated for two and a half years to get the balanced budget done in ’97 done. There is just a remarkable difference between Clinton and Obama and I actually think in many ways… that Obama is the anti-Clinton. Clinton was trying to move the Party to the center, Obama has moved it to the Left. Clinton balanced the budget with the policies we implemented in ’97 led to four straight balanced budgets, Obama has had the largest deficits in American history. Clinton worked with the legislature in a bipartisan basis, Obama has tried to use Executive Authority in ways I think are unconstitutional. It really is kind of remarkable. And I hope that every American when they watch Bill Clinton speak, will realize how much weaker and ineffective as president Obama is than the man that is nominating him was.”
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