Remember, this legislation was successful because it was bipartisan but it was successful. It made people go back to work before they could claim any welfare benefits if they were not able to work.
This afternoon, President Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released an official policy directive undermining the welfare reform law of 1996. The new policy guts the federal work requirements that have been the foundation of that law — one of the most successful domestic policy reforms in the 20th century.
Welfare reform replaced the old Aid to Families with Dependent Children with a new program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The underlying concept of welfare reform was that able-bodied adults should be required to work or prepare for work as a condition of receiving welfare aid.
The welfare reform law was very successful. In the four decades prior to welfare reform, the welfare caseload never experienced a significant decline. But, in the four years after welfare reform, the caseload dropped by nearly half. Employment surged and child poverty among blacks and single mothers plummeted to historic lows. What was the catalyst for these improvements? Rigorous new federal work requirements contained in TANF.
Contrary to some perceptions, the formula that made welfare reform a success was not giving state governments more flexibility in operating federally funded welfare programs. The active ingredient that made the difference was requiring state governments to implement those rigorous new federal work standards
Read more here – Obama Ends Welfare Reform As We Know It