Camp, Hatch demand review of administration's welfare change

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Camp and Hatch contacted the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on Tuesday, wondering if the administration's decision to issue waivers is subject to review by Congress. 

"This review by the nonpartisan GAO will determine whether Congress can use expedited procedures to block HHS from waiving work requirements," Camp said in a statement.

In their letter, the lawmakers also asked if previous administrations had taken similar steps on welfare policy.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius defended the government's move in a recent letter to both men. 

"Our goal is to accelerate job placement by moving more Americans from welfare to work," she wrote. "No policy which undercuts that goal or waters down work requirements will be considered or approved." 

Under the new policy, federal waivers would allow states to test new approaches to ensuring welfare recipients find jobs. In exchange, states would have to prove that their new methods are effective, or lose the waivers.

Past documents reveal that former President George W. Bush and his administration advocated for a similar policy, and that as governor of Massachusetts, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney petitioned Congress for more flexibility under the landmark 1996 welfare-to-work law.