Republican leaders Friday pushed back against Obama administration efforts to allow some states to waive work rules in their welfare programs for needy families contained in the landmark 1996 reform law.

By a 250-164 vote, the House passed a resolution Friday rejecting the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) offer to states to devise their own definitions of work and participation rates. Nineteen Democrats joined their Republican colleagues in supporting the resolution.

Also on Friday, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, Michigan Republican, and Sen. Orrin Hatch, Utah Republican and ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, released a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that asks her to explain by Oct. 25 how her agency reached its decision to grant states waivers on congressional work rules. Already, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a report that said such a waiver policy needed to be approved by Congress, the Republican lawmakers said.


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