(National Sentinel) Welfare Reform: Candidate Bill Clinton ran on a presidential platform of ending “welfare as we know it” in the early 1990s, and with Republican help, he was able to substantially reform the system.
But now President Donald J. Trump wants to put his name on further reforms of a benefits system because he says “people are taking advantage” of it, The Associated Press reported Friday.
The president has hinted for some time he’s interested in overhauling the system. One of the hallmarks of Clinton-era reform was adding work requirements for most benefits recipients, a provision that was credited with moving millions off the dole and substantially reducing federal and state layouts.
But President Obama, via executive order, largely did away with the work requirement, which then led to a spike in enrollment.
Now Trump — who has already closed potential loopholes in Obama’s initial order — seeks to pare those rolls again as the country rebounds economically and companies are beginning to hire more.
Last week the president said he would like to tackle welfare reform after Congress addresses his tax overhaul, which he wants done by the end of the year. He said that changes were “desperately needed in our country” and that soon, the White House would offer a plan, the AP reported.
Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said more specifics were likely early next year, but the White House has already begun working on a plan and Trump has broached the subject with some Republican lawmakers.
The AP reported further:
Paul Winfree, director of budget policy and deputy director of Trump’s Domestic Policy Council, told a recent gathering at the conservative Heritage Foundation that he and another staffer had been charged with “working on a major welfare reform proposal.” He said they have drafted an executive order on the topic that would outline administration principles and direct agencies to come up with recommendations.
“The president really wants to lead on this,” Winfree said. “He has delivered that message loud and clear to us. We’ve opened conversations with leadership in Congress to let them know that that is the direction we are heading.”
Included in Clinton’s reform were provisions to provide block grants to states so local officials could better manage expenditures and time limits for families to receive benefits before they would be required to find some form of paid employment.
Earlier this year Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s budget director, said, “If you are on food stamps and you are able-bodied, we need you to go to work.”
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