Stark jabs Romney with bill for welfare moms

Though embroiled in an ugly re-election campaign situation, Rep. Pete Stark remains a loyal fighter in the presidential campaign rhetoric wars.

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.”

The WORK Act’s 11 original cosponsors include Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, and Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma.

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.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • JohnW

    Now there’s the old Stark spark! I like it.

  • Truthclubber

    This is going to be a fabulous point to jam up Romney’s “planet between Saturn and Neptune” when Obama gets a chance to take on “Mr. Etch-A-Sketch” come this fall after the Boehner-led House defeats this “in Ann Romney’s face” legislation — I’m buyin’ the pallets of popcorn NOW!

    I cah hardly wait for Mitch “I’m a fascist of the first degree” McConnell wail next January that “I want to make sure that Barack Obama is only a two term President…”

  • Elwood

    @ toothsucker

    I discussed your case with my colleague, the noted prison psychiatrist Dr. Wacko Cracko.

    His diagnosis: Cranium in rectum syndrome, chronic and acute.

    There is no treatment.

    You are doomed.

    He did recommend that you stay out of the cooking sherry.

  • Truthclubber

    Hellwoody —

    Let’s make a bet:

    Romney wins this November — I will forever STFU and never come on this blog again (no BS about “GOP fascism”, etc.)
    Obama wins this November — you will forever STFU and never come on this blog again (no BS about “cooking sherry” etc.)

    Deal? Got the cojones to back it up? I bet you don’t…and the rest of this blog’s commenters will see that you don’t.

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    I doubt the bill would go anywhere even if Dems were in the saddle.

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    Re 3: I don’t give a flyin ‘ (you supply the noun) whether you , Truthie, stay or leave. I ‘d miss Elwood.