House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) and other members have showcased their ambitions: the caucus wants to add welfare, health care, and tax reform all into one bill and pass it all by the end of the summer.
The biggest stars of reform, health care and taxes, have caused the White House and members of Congress to butt heads. The White House wants to accomplish health care reform in the summer and take tax reform into the fall.
Food Stamps, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
The Freedom Caucus has told GOP House leaders that the only way they can support higher spending is if the tax reform bill reforms the welfare system. From USA Today:
“Right now a budget cannot pass in the House of Representatives,” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said during a panel discussion at the Heritage Foundation. “What we’re talking about putting forward is this: Maybe we can live with a higher budget number if in fact we do real welfare reform on the tax bill.”
Jordan has introduced a bill that would require 100 hours of work activity a month for able-bodied adults receiving benefits from two major welfare programs, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Work requirements would be reduced for those with children, but the proposal would also impose limits on how long someone could be in the program.
“The idea is if you’re able-bodied, you can’t be living on the taxpayer, getting help from the taxpayer, forever,” Jordan said in an interview after the panel.
Meadows said welfare reform must happen because the program grows “at a much faster rate than the discretionary spending Congress approves every year.” He also said that Congress has to address the need for labor across the country if they want to meet “the 3 percent growth rate projected in President Donald Trump’s budget.”
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In other words, people rely too much on welfare and have no motivation to find work:
Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said employers in his district have told him they cannot find workers for jobs whose only requirements are that the worker pass a drug test and show up on time.
“That’s a pretty low bar,” Meadows said.
The White House would like to implement work requirements. From The Daily Caller:
Under current law, adults between 18 and 49 who don’t have children or disabilities have to work 80 hours per month, though some states still grant waivers to these requirements. Trump would like to expand the work requirements to all adults.
The White House Office of Management and Budget estimates that implementing work requirements could save $192 billion over the next decade.
As the White House pushes for health care reform, the Freedom Caucus thinks Congress should concentrate on tax reform since that would help the economy. This is why Meadows wants to put both in the same bill. From The Hill:
House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said Friday that Congress should have a “real proposal” on tax reform that lawmakers can start debating by the end of July.
“We believe that time is of the essence,” Meadows said at an event at The Heritage Foundation.
The conservative Freedom Caucus took a formal position earlier this week, calling on the House to work through the August recess to advance GOP priorities such as tax reform.