The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

October 19, 2012

Your Letters: Support for Jim Evans, fact finding

Working together

I support Jim Evans for U.S. Congress.

I believe we need a new kind of representative for Southwest Missouri and for our country. He is someone who will fight for individual rights and who will work to rebuild the middle class.

We need someone who thinks outside the ideological box, who will put aside partisan politics and focus on solutions that benefit all of us.

We need a U.S. congressman who is forward looking, who has a hopeful vision for the future that all of us can support. We have seen far too much of the self-serving politics of hate and division.

Jim Evans is an advocate for religious freedom, fewer abortions, reward for hard work, Medicare for all, easily accessible community college and university education, the disabled and disadvantaged, and energy self-reliance.

These are policies everyone can support regardless of their political association. It is not a question of what we want for ourselves, but of working together to make things happen for all of us. Jim has shown those who know him that he can bridge the partisan divide.

Let’s elect Jim Evans to the U.S. Congress.

Jonathan Conrad


Facts are there

Jim Williams recently wrote a letter to The Joplin Globe questioning a statement I made regarding an administrative directive issued by the Obama administration stating that the traditional Temporary Assistance for Needy Families work requirements can be waived or overridden by a legal device called the section 1115 waiver authority under the Social Security law (42 U.S.C. 1315).

Mr. Williams stated he had contacted federal, state and local offices and no one knew of such a directive, so he assumed that I didn’t know what I was talking about. Mr. Williams also assumed that I get my information from Fox News. Although I love listening to Fox, I think for myself and read everything I can to know what is happening in our country and to our country.

I first read about this directive on the Drudge Report and Since I don’t just accept things on face value, I started searching for facts. I found other articles about this in the Washington Examiner (Oct. 15), Political News (Oct. 12), and The Heritage Organization, among others. I believe the Heritage Organization is one of the most reputable groups when it comes to fact finding, and it had extensive information on the subject. I would advise anyone who is interested in finding out the facts to check these out.

Also, Mr. Williams said he had called federal, state and local offices and no one knew of this directive. Well, the Committee on Ways and Means issued a press release on Sept. 19 quoting a GAO report about this directive. Also, I have quoted below the directive that comes directly from the website of the Office of Family Assistance, which is a department of the federal government:

“While the TANF work participation requirements are contained in section 407, section 402(a)(1)(A)(iii) requires that the state plan ‘[e]nsure that parents and caretakers receiving assistance under the program engage in work activities in accordance with section 407.’ Thus, Health and Human Services has authority to waive compliance with this 402 requirement and authorize a state to test approaches and methods other than those set forth in section 407, including definitions of work activities and engagement, specified limitations, verification procedures, and the calculation of participation rates. As described below, however, HHS will only consider approving waivers relating to the work participation requirements that make changes intended to lead to more effective means of meeting the work goals of TANF.”

This gives HHS the authority to waive compliance of the “work standard” set in TANF, and gives states the authority to test approaches and methods other than those set forth in TANF. One has to question why you would change something that was working. According to the Heritage Organization, within five years of the welfare reform, caseloads dropped by approximately 50 percent, employment and earnings for low-income individuals surged upward, and the child poverty rate fell.

Now I’m not sure who Mr. Williams talked to, and I’m sorry he spent his time making all the phone calls, but the information is available for anyone who wants to find out the facts.

Marilyn Beasley