Did the Obama administration really “repeal” or “gut” welfare reform?  A lot of people are arguing about it lately.

The short answer appears to be Yes, with qualifications.

Even at Slate, no right-wing rag, David Weigel writes,

Has the HHS “gutted” welfare reform?

It’s at least cracked open the door for the people who might gut it. . . .

. . . The only non-“gutting” theory I can come up gives HHS rather a lot of credit.

He links to Mickey Kaus (who he says “owns this beat”; whom Newsbusters describes as a “[p]ro-welfare reform Democratic journalist”), who writes,

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Andrew M. Grossman and Robert Rector at National Review Online say that the Obama administration’s recent decision to repeal, by executive fiat, the core of the welfare reform of 1996 (the work requirement) is illegal:

Section 407 establishes stand-alone work requirements for state welfare plans that brook no exceptions. And Section 407 is absent from the list of sections that the HHS secretary does have the authority to waive. That alone proves that Sebelius lacks any authority to waive the work requirements.

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