“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.

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 GrassleyGOP senator blocking Trump's Intel nominee GOP leaders to Trump: Leave Mueller alone GOP leaders back second special counsel MORE (Iowa), Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoPower struggle threatens to sink bank legislation Overnight Regulation: FDA rule to limit nicotine in cigarettes moves forward | Court tosses Obama financial adviser rule | House GOP threatens to hold up Senate Dodd-Frank rollback Overnight Finance: House threatens to freeze Senate Dodd-Frank rollback | New Russia sanctions | Trump vs. Trudeau on trade | Court tosses Obama financial adviser rule MORE (Idaho), Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsRural America hopes Trump hasn't forgotten his promise Republicans slam Trump's tariffs plan Senate Republicans float legislation to reverse Trump tariffs MORE (Kan.), Mike EnziMichael (Mike) Bradley EnziA failure to protect students and taxpayers Corker: Why can the Pentagon 'turn entire countries into craters' but not audit itself? Sales tax battle moves to the Supreme Court MORE (Wyo.), John CornynJohn CornynWhite House officials expect short-term funding bill to avert shutdown Spending bill delay raises risk of partial government shutdown support GOP leaders to Trump: Leave Mueller alone MORE (Texas), Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnPaul Ryan should realize that federal earmarks are the currency of cronyism Republicans in Congress shouldn't try to bring back earmarks Republicans should know reviving earmarks is a political nightmare MORE (Okla.), John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneGOP leaders to Trump: Leave Mueller alone Toyota halts self-driving car tests on public roads Senate Commerce presses Facebook, Cambridge Analytica for answers on data MORE (S.D.) and Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrOvernight Cybersecurity: Senate Intel releases election security findings | Facebook to meet with officials on Capitol Hill amid Cambridge Analytica fallout | Orbitz admits possible breach Senate Intel releases summary of election security report Overnight Cybersecurity: Trump-linked data firm Cambridge Analytica attracts scrutiny | House passes cyber response team bill | What to know about Russian cyberattacks on energy grid 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.