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House GOP Moves To Block Obama's Welfare Policy

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"Today's vote in the Ways and Means Committee moves us one step closer to stopping the Obama Administration's illegal attempts to undermine the requirement that able-bodied adults work in order to receive welfare benefits," he said. "I expect the House to vote on this in the coming days and urge the Senate to take up this resolution, pass it, and send it to the President's desk."

The bill is set to pass the House but die in the Democratic-led Senate.

Obama and his allies view the Republican effort as a cynical and dishonest political ploy to paint the president handing out welfare checks to undeserving recipients -- a portrayal Romney has advanced in multiple attack ads in swing states.

In fact, the Department of Health and Human Services has said the waivers will not be granted -- or will be stripped -- unless states can demonstrate that the steps they've taken have moved an additional 20 percent of people from welfare to work. The concept of state flexibility has been championed by Republican governors, although they have sought to change the policy through Congress as opposed to administrative fiat.

"Facts are stubborn things, but apparently not as stubborn as the utter willingness of Republicans to ignore them," said Ways & Means Ranking Democrat Sander Levin (MI) at the hearing, spotlighting scores of media reports that the premise of the Republican claim is false. "It raises serious questions as to their motivation on this bill."

The Republican presidential nominee has faced withering criticism over the welfare attacks, including from fact-checkers and mainstream journalists, some of whom have also accused him of exploiting racial divisions within the electorate. His pollsters have said the ad is among the campaign's most effective.

About The Author

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Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.

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