New Congress Wants Able-Bodied Americans to Work for Their Welfare Payments


file photo of Paul Ryan
file photo of Paul Ryan

Major Welfare Reform Is Coming

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and other GOP leaders are signaling that they will introduce a major welfare reform bill in 2017 or 2018. Able-bodies Americans will have to work for their welfare.

Republicans will also look at the food stamp program and its spending levels.

Ryan has proposed converting food stamps to a block grant and allowing states to determine how to spend a diminished level of funding.

Welfare recipients who are able-bodied will have to work.
Welfare recipients who are able-bodied will have to work.

If You Can Work, You’ll Have to Work

Work requirements for able-bodied recipients and other eligibility rules are coming. Republican lawmakers in two states — Maine and Arkansas — are eying additional potential savings by targeting beneficiaries who spend part of their monthly food subsidy on junk food and sodas, according to the Daily Signal.

Arkansas has one of the highest obesity rates in the nation.

The Obama administration’s Department of Agriculture previously rejected waiver requests from nine other states – including California, New York, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Texas and Vermont – to prohibit beneficiaries from buying junk food with their food stamps.

file photo of Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture.
file photo of Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture.

Those waivers are far more possible now. The push is being made with an eye toward improving public health and reducing health care costs as well as government food subsidies. The goal is to address obesity and contain Medicaid costs. Medicaid’s original intent was to ensure beneficiaries use the program to guarantee a healthy diet for low-income families.

Junk Food Is on the Hit List

People caught purchasing forbidden junk food and soda could be suspended or even dropped from the program. Food stamp advocates say the program already improves the diets and health of women and children.

Banned foods would include soda, potato chips, and candy. Red Bull might be out. A waiver would allow states to prohibit food stamp recipients from using their debit cards to buy sugary items such as candy and beverages.

Last year, the House Budget Committee adopted a budget plan that would slash food stamp spending by more than $150 billion – or more than 20 percent – over the coming decade and change the program into block grants.

Numbers on Welfare Is Over the Top

As of July, the national population was 318,857,056, the Census Bureau estimates. Thus, the 46,674,364 on food stamps equaled 14.6 percent of the population.

The number of households on food stamps increased from 22,749,951 in September to 22,867,248 in October, an increase of 117,297.

As of September, according to the Census Bureau, there were 115,831,000 households in the country. Thus, the 22,867,248 households on food stamps in October equaled 19.7 percent of the nation’s households.

The 46,674,364 people on food stamps in the United States also exceeded the total populations of Columbia (46,245,297), Kenya (46,245,297), Ukraine (44,291,413) and Argentina (43,024,374).

Illegal aliens do get welfare and some get more than poor Americans.

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