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Trump admin announces work requirement reforms for food stamps

Spencer Platt | Getty Images

The following is an excerpt from Blaze Media’s Capitol Hill Brief email newsletter:

In yet another example of policy news that happened while the impeachment circus took up most of Washington’s attention, the Trump administration announced a new rule yesterday that tightens work requirements for able-bodied adults to receive SNAP benefits, also known as food stamps.

“Government can be a powerful force for good, but government dependency has never been the American dream. We need to encourage people by giving them a helping hand but not allowing it to become an indefinitely giving hand,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue stated on Wednesday. “Now, in the midst of the strongest economy in a generation, we need everyone who can work, to work.”

Under current law, work-eligible adults without dependents under the age of 50 can only get three months of benefits over a three-year period if they don’t meet a work requirement of 20 hours per week. The new rule simply cuts back on states’ ability to exempt work-eligible people from the work requirements via waivers.

Nancy Pelosi said that the finalized rule “showcases the Trump Administration’s complete and devastating disregard for the health and well-being of millions of Americans.”

Republican lawmakers, in contrast, lauded the change.

“There is simply no reason today why, for example, an able-bodied adult male with no health problems and no dependents should not [be] employed – or at least contributing as a productive volunteer in his community,” said Republican Study Committee Chair Mike Johnson, R-La. “Our public policy in this country should always emphasize the virtue of hard work as a pathway out of poverty, while public assistance programs should be reserved only for those who are truly in need.”

“With unemployment at record lows, with 7 million available job openings, work opportunities are abundant,” said Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala. “Able-bodied adults should never be allowed to vote for a living rather than work for one.”