In a recent political ad, presidential hopeful Mitt Romney accuses President Barack Obama of "taking the work out of welfare."
At the center of the issue is the Obama administration's proposal to grant waivers to states that allow more flexibility in the federally funded welfare program.
The states would handle their own welfare programs, but they would have to meet certain goals, like moving a certain percentage of people from welfare to work.
"We think that it represents another threat to going away from a work ethic to a dependency ethic in the United States. We think it's very dangerous," Republican North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis said.
Tillis said Wednesday that Obama's actions go against President Bill Clinton's bipartisan Welfare Reform Act passed in 1996.
"We think that this policy change is potentially a step down a slippery slope where some of those reforms would be clawed back, which I assume is still counter to what President Clinton would want," Tillis said.
But Clinton called the campaign ad misleading.
"The administration has taken important steps to ensure that the work requirement is retained and that waivers will be granted only if a state can demonstrate that more people will be moved into work under its new approach," he said in a statement.