Newt Gingrich on Obama’s energy policies:
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on Thursday accused President Obama of having “crippled American energy production.”
The statement is untrue. Production of oil, natural gas, and coal have increased under Obama, according to data from the federal Energy Information Administration.
Coal production hasn’t increased by much since Obama took office, but it has gone up—by a small 0.93 percent. Oil production has gone up 5.7 percent. And natural-gas production, thanks in large part to the vast new reserves of shale natural gas found in many parts of the country, is up almost 22 percent.
Obama has been taking credit for the increases, but energy output would likely have grown no matter who was in the White House. Market changes and new discoveries of unconventional oil and natural gas sources have driven the increases. Coal production is up because high demand in Asia is creating a booming export market for the resource. Also, sizable impacts from government policies usually show up with a time lag of several years in the energy sector.
Gingrich on welfare:
Gingrich kept up the Republican attack on the Obama administration’s changes to the welfare program, echoing a Romney campaign ad that has accused the Obama administration of ending the program’s work requirements.
“Tragically, President Obama gutted this achievement,” Gingrich said.
Gingrich’s statement is false. The Obama administration issued a memo in July informing states that the administration was willing to waive federal work requirements for state welfare programs, but only if the states come up with their own plans to “test alternative and innovative strategies, policies, and procedures that are designed to improve employment outcomes.”
In other words, if states think they have a better way of getting welfare recipients to work than the federal rules—which can get as specific as only counting a job search as “work” for four consecutive weeks—they can present that plan to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for approval. The move was an effort to offer flexibility, not an attempt to gut the work requirements.