Trump Signs Executive Order Requiring Welfare Recipients to Work


President Donald Trump has taken another step toward reducing the number of people trapped in the welfare cycle.

Trump signed the Reducing Poverty in America by Promoting Opportunity and Economic Mobility executive order on Tuesday. It will affect millions of people who receive benefits from government assistance programs such as Medicaid, SNAP — better known as food stamps —  and public housing.

The federal government spent more than $700 billion on welfare programs to assist low-income households last year. The president says his latest executive order is designed to make more public assistance recipients self-sufficient.

“The federal government’s role is to clear paths to self-sufficiency, reserving public assistance programs for those who are truly in need,” the executive order states. “The federal government should do everything within its authority to empower individuals by providing opportunities for work, including by investing in federal programs that are effective at moving people into the workforce and out of poverty.  It must examine federal policies and programs to ensure that they are consistent with principles that are central to the American spirit — work, free enterprise, and safeguarding human and economic resources.

“For those policies or programs that are not succeeding in those respects, it is our duty to either improve or eliminate them.”

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The president also said the order will give states more power over how to utilize public assistance programs and also better monitor the success of those programs.

Should work requirements be a part of any government assistance program?

“Balance flexibility and accountability both to ensure that state, local, and tribal governments, and other institutions, may tailor their public assistance programs to the unique needs of their communities and to ensure that welfare services and administering agencies can be held accountable for achieving outcomes (including by designing and tracking measures that assess whether programs help people escape poverty),” the order states.

The executive order calls on the heads of eight federal departments to review public assistance programs within their agencies.

Those department heads are expected to submit a report within 90 days with a list of recommended changes to achieve Trump’s goals, according to the executive order.

“The president cares deeply about getting Americans back to work,” a senior administration official told reporters, according to Politico. “This executive order provides a well-thought-out, coherent framework.”

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families said Trump’s executive order will allow the agency to take “aggressive action” toward enforcing work requirements.

“Strengthening work requirements for welfare recipients is a critical element of moving welfare recipients from dependency to self-sufficiency,” Steven Wagner, the acting assistant secretary for the organization, said in a statement.

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This is not the administration’s first attempt at incorporating work requirements into government aid programs.

The Department of Health and Human Services has taken the first steps in incorporating work requirements for Medicaid recipients, while the Department of Agriculture has already started giving states more control over food stamp recipients, allowing some states to add work requirements for that benefit.

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Scott Kelnhofer is a writer for The Western Journal and Conservative Tribune. A native of Milwaukee, he currently resides in Phoenix.
Scott Kelnhofer is a writer for The Western Journal and Conservative Tribune. He has more than 20 years of experience in print and broadcast journalism. A native of Milwaukee, he has resided in Phoenix since 2012.
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