WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Wednesday pushed back new work requirements for welfare programs that Republicans want in a package to raise the debt ceiling.
Expanded work requirements for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program and Medicaid have emerged as a major sticking point in debt ceiling talks between the White House and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
“I’m not going to accept any job requirements that affect people’s medical health needs,” Biden said from the Roosevelt Room of the White House before flying to Japan for the G-7 summit. He also said he would not accept any expanded work requirements beyond the provisions he championed as a U.S. senator in the 1990s.
“Maybe a few, but nothing of consequence,” Biden said.
Top House Democrat calls job requirements ‘non-starters’
Biden’s cautious posture follows a backlash from congressional Democrats, who have warned it could undermine Republicans’ push to expand work requirements for welfare programs serving low-income Americans.
House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries called expanded work requirements a “non-starter” in an interview on CNBC Wednesday, as 145 Republicans joined Democrats in opposing a similar plan in 2018. There are already “significant job requirements,” he said. Federal law.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Biden said he would not entertain any new requirements for Medicaid recipients. The White House made clear Wednesday that Biden would also work to block eligibility changes for other federal aid programs.
“The policies proposed by House Republicans will deprive Americans of health care and increase poverty,” White House press secretary Michael Kikugawa told USA TODAY in a statement. “Republicans couldn’t get them into law when they had unified control of the government — and the president is fighting to make sure they won’t be in a bipartisan budget deal.”
Biden met with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and other congressional leaders at the White House on Tuesday. Pay its fees.
The parties appeared to have made some progress, with Biden appointing three White House officials to a suite to begin more advanced negotiations. McCarthy said the two sides are still far apart, as Republicans want to use the debt ceiling to make substantial budget cuts.
“To be clear, this negotiation is about the contours of what the budget will look like, not really about whether or not we’re going to pay off our debts,” Biden said. “The leaders all agree that we will not default.”
McCarthy: Tougher job requirements ‘will lift people out of poverty’
The McCarthy-backed legislation would cut the debt ceiling by $4.5 trillion and expand work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, SNAP, which provides monthly food benefits to about 40 million low-income Americans each month.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, McCarthy emphasized that Republicans want to expand the work requirements for federal aid that Biden voted for in the 1990s when he was in the Senate.
“It lifts people out of poverty, puts them in jobs,” McCarthy said.
The speaker’s bill, which passed by a 217-215 vote in the Republican-controlled House, would subject disabled adults without dependent children to work requirements to receive SNAP benefits between the ages of 49 and 55.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the higher limit would result in the loss of SNAP benefits for 275,000 Americans and a savings of $11 billion.
The bill would make it harder for states to exempt their residents from work and job training requirements to receive SNAP benefits. Republicans have proposed less flexibility in administering the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program and requiring Medicaid recipients to participate in work-related activities for at least 80 hours per month.
Reach Joey Garrison at @joeygarrison.