Minnesota Republican Rep. John Kline is co-sponsoring new legislation that would block the Obama administration from granting waivers to the nation's welfare law.
The president said last year the waivers to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, would let states more efficiently deliver aid to their poorest residents who are looking for work.
Lawmakers on a Republican-led subcommittee in the U.S. House met Thursday to discuss the president's offer.
Minnesota asked about a possible waiver, but hasn't applied yet. Minnesota's current welfare program is known as MFIP, the Minnesota Family Investment Program.
Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson joined The Daily Circuit Thursday Feb. 28 and said she'll wait for Congress to act before seeking the waiver.
The system needs reform, she said.
"People who are looking for a job - some of them have to, if they're getting a job interview, get a sign-off to prove they had a job interview," Jesson said. "We have employment counselors spending half their time verifying that [recipients] are filling out these 12 activities [required to receive aid] in the right number of hours, instead of actually working with employers, doing mock interviews and helping people write good resumes."
Critics, including Kline, say the waivers would gut the requirement that welfare recipients work or look for work.