“I’m introducing this bill because the Obama administration grossly underminded the constitutional authority of the legislative branch to affect changes to settled law,” Hatch said on the floor.

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Hatch accused the Obama administration of telling states that they no longer need to follow the work requirements in TANF.

“The Obama administration quietly released ‘guidance’ to the states informing them that the administration had granted itself authority to waive work requirements in TANF,” Hatch said. “In the 16 years since the creation of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, no administration has concluded that they have the authority to waive the TANF work requirements.”

White House press secretary Jay Carney said the changes speed job placement.

"The changes proposed by the Department of Health and Human Services are designed to accelerate job placement by moving more Americans from welfare to work as quickly as possible," Carney said Wednesday. "There will be no waivers of the time limits in the law, and only waivers with compelling plans to move more people off of welfare and into work will be considered.  This policy will allow states to test new, more effective ways to help people get and keep a job."

TANF includes the commonly called “welfare-to-work” program, which requires those receiving welfare payments to be employed or prove they’re looking for work.

Hatch said his bill, S. 3397, would not change TANF, just make it clear that the president doesn’t have the authority to change the law.

Republican Sens. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleySenators push mandatory sexual harassment training for members, staff Senate panel to hold hearing on bump stocks, background checks Senate panel to hold hearing on bump stocks MORE (Iowa), Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoOvernight Finance: GOP criticism of tax bill grows, but few no votes | Highlights from day two of markup | House votes to overturn joint-employer rule | Senate panel approves North Korean banking sanctions Senate panel approves North Korea banking sanctions Trump names Powell as chairman of Federal Reserve MORE (Idaho), Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsSenate passes resolution requiring mandatory sexual harassment training Overnight Energy: Perry takes heat for sexual assault comments | Clovis withdraws nomination for USDA post | Battle lines drawn on Arctic refuge drilling | Energy regulator back to full strength Trump USDA pick linked to Mueller probe withdraws nomination MORE (Kan.), Mike EnziMichael (Mike) Bradley EnziGOP senators ask Trump for meeting on biofuels mandate Senate budget just the latest attack on seniors Week ahead: GOP's next steps on tax reform | Fed chief speculation heats up | Senate to vote on disaster relief MORE (Wyo.), John CornynJohn CornynAfter Texas shooting, lawmakers question whether military has systemic reporting problem Overnight Defense: Lawmakers question military's lapse after Texas shooting | Trump asks North Korea to 'make a deal' | Senate panel approves Army pick Overnight Regulation: House passes bill to overturn joint-employer rule | Trump officials to allow work requirements for Medicaid | Lawmakers 'alarmed' by EPA's science board changes MORE (Texas), Tom CoburnTom CoburnFormer GOP senator: Trump has a personality disorder Lobbying World -trillion debt puts US fiscal house on very shaky ground MORE (Okla.), John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneOvernight Tech: Senate panel subpoenaed ex-Yahoo chief | Twitter gives all users 280 characters | FBI can't access Texas shooter's phone | EU wants tax answers from Apple Overnight Cybersecurity: What we learned from Carter Page's House Intel testimony | House to mark up foreign intel reform law | FBI can't access Texas shooter's phone | Sessions to testify at hearing amid Russia scrutiny Former Yahoo CEO subpoenaed to appear before Congress MORE (S.D.) and Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrJuan Williams: The shame of Trump's enablers Five takeaways from the social media hearings Overnight Tech: Senators demand tech firms do more on Russian meddling | House Intel releases Russian-promoted ads | Apple CEO says 'fake news' bigger threat than ads | Ex-Yahoo CEO, Equifax execs to testify on breaches MORE (N.C.) were listed as co-sponsors by Hatch.

Carney pointed out that some of the bill's co-sponsors have supported some waivers to TANF in the past.

"If I could address some of the hypocritical criticism — I have been surprised by it — by the hypocrisy of our critics since many of them have in the past supported and even proposed such waivers," Carney said.

During the 2005 welfare reauthorization, Grassley advocated for Republican governors who wanted flexibility to make changes to TANF.

Hatch admitted on the floor that the current program isn't perfect but said the administration shouldn't bypass Congress.