Stark, D-Fremont, today announced he’s introducing the Women’s Option to Raise Kids (WORK) Act, which would amend the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families welfare program to recognize the job of raising children age three or younger as work; low-income parents would be able to work, receive job training, search for work or raise their children until they are school-aged without fear of losing TANF support.
Current law doesn’t count low-income stay-at-home parents who are raising young children as meeting the necessary TANF work requirement, and bans states from counting these individuals toward that state’s work participation rate, which can result in financial penalties if not met.
Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney’s campaign has been making hay of Obama advisor Hilary Rosen’s comment that the candidate’s wife, Ann Romney, stayed home to raise their five children and “never worked a day in her life” – mothering is work, the Romneys contend. However, MSNBC reported Sunday that Romney, during a campaign appearance in January in New Hampshire, touted his record as Massachusetts’ governor of increasing work requirements for welfare even for mothers of young children because he wanted them “to have the dignity of work.”
“Mitt Romney was for ObamaCare before he was against it. Then, he was for forcing low-income mothers into the workforce before he decided ‘all moms are working moms,’” Stark said in a news release. “I think we should take Mr. Romney at his most recent word and change our federal laws to recognize the importance and legitimacy of raising young children. That’s why I’ve introduced the WORK Act to provide low-income parents the option of staying home to raise young children without being pushed into poverty.”
This isn’t Stark’s first jab at a GOP presidential candidate this year. In January, he introduced the Narrowing Exceptions for Withholding Taxes Act – yes, the NEWT Act – as a hit at Newt Gingrich. H.R. 3840 would close a loophole that lets certain self-employed people, including lobbyists, lower their Medicare payroll tax liability by calling their earnings profits or dividends rather than wages – as Gingrich did in his 2010 tax returns.
Like the NEWT Act, the WORK Act will go absolutely nowhere in the Republican-dominated House.