By Chloe Teboe 4/12/2018
President Trump has signed an executive order that will increase work requirements for welfare programs across the country. This decision on Tuesday could affect individuals who receive Medicaid or use housing assistance, cash welfare or food stamps.
Since the President took office in 2017, the Trump administration has been trying to limit the number of people that use welfare programs. The White House insists that despite a low unemployment rate of 4.1 percent last month, enrollment in government assistance programs is still high.
“I know people, they work three jobs, and they live next to somebody who doesn’t work at all,” Trump said at a rally in Missouri last November. “And the person who’s not working at all and has no intention of working at all is making more money and doing better than the person that’s working his and her a** off.”
The Trump Administration is trying to reduce federal spending and get more people into the workforce. Last year, more than 40 million Americans used food stamp programs – down from 47.6 million in 2013, according to NPR.
“Part of President Trump’s effort to create a booming American economy includes moving Americans from welfare to work and supporting and encouraging others to support common-sense reforms that restore American prosperity and help them reclaim their independence,” Trump policy adviser, Andrew Bremberg, told Time.
Critics of this new executive order argue that many people who receive government assistance go to work, but they do not earn enough to pay for necessities including rent, groceries or health care on their own.
Data from the Department of Agriculture in 2015 showed that 44 percent of households using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP, already had someone in the family making money, according to Time.
“Evidence shows that such [work] requirements have few long-term positive effects on employment and often result in families losing help they need to afford the basics,” Sharon Parrott, a senior fellow at Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, told NPR.
Spokespeople from the Department of Agriculture said it is still looking for ways to promote work and self-sufficiency in those on welfare programs. Select cabinet secretaries have 90 days to review their agency programs and make potential changes.