The Obama administration is acting unilaterally to give states more flexibility in designing their welfare programs. This is something Republican and Democratic governors have wanted for some time, and the White House has been clear that they do not intend to permit states to ease up on work requirements — ““no plan that undercuts the goal of moving people from welfare to work will be considered or approved,” says Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary for Health and Human Services. Nevertheless, as Ramesh Ponnuru writes, it’s a major assertion of authority by the executive branch. — authority that no previous administration has exercised.
When Congress doesn't work, other parts of the government take up the slack. (Andrew Harrer -- Bloomberg)
I’d add that it’s not, by any means, alone. In the absence of congressional action, the White House has also claimed significant authority to issue waivers around the No Child Left Behind law, to regulate carbon emissions through the EPA, to make recess appointments over the objections of the minority. The Federal Reserve has taken a more active role in the economy than it otherwise would have liked to — as Ben Bernanke said in his June news conference, “We welcome economic support from any other part of the government…cooperation would be great.”
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