President Donald Trump quietly issued an executive order on April 10 calling for federal government agencies to enforce new requirements for low-income recipients of food assistance, Medicaid, and low-income housing subsidies to join the work force or lose their benefits, The Hill reports.
The move is part of the administration's broad overhaul of government safety net programs, promoting employment for those on public assistance programs.
"Since its inception, the welfare system has grown into a large bureaucracy that might be susceptible to measuring success by how many people are enrolled in a program rather than by how many have moved from poverty into financial independence," the order states.
Conservatives lauded the order, calling it "Welfare Reform 2.0."
"Welfare reform is necessary to prosperity and independence,” Andrew Bremberg, Trump’s domestic policy chief, said.
According to The Hill:
Democrats have blasted the effort, arguing the order blends the issues of welfare and broader public assistance programs in a deliberate way they say is intended to lower support for popular initiatives.
"Welfare" has historically been used to describe cash assistance programs like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Democrats and liberal activists say the Trump administration is seeking to expand the definition of welfare to mean food stamps, Medicaid and other programs as a way to demonize them.
"Work requirements do not create jobs; they instead create barriers to assistance for those who need them, oftentimes when their situation is most dire," House Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said in a joint statement. "This executive order perpetuates false and racist stereotypes about certain groups supposedly taking advantage of government assistance."
The order dictates federal agencies to review and submit policy recommendations and changes within 90 days.
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