Some SNAP and TANF Recipients Could Be Required to Work Now that Debt Ceiling Deal Passed

Some SNAP and TANF Recipients Could Be Required to Work Now that Debt Ceiling Deal Passed

By Yehudit Garmaise

The proposed work requirement, which is for Americans who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy (TANF), which provides temporary cash for families in need, is one of the outcomes of the hard-fought budget negotiations of the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 that the Senate passed late last Thursday night.

The U.S. holds the world’s highest national debt of $31.4 trillion to investors, both foreign and domestic.

To fend off the country’s shameful and economically catastrophic default, which U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said could rapidly approach by June 5, both Democrats and Republicans agreed to eliminate the country’s “debt ceiling,” or the maximum amount of money the nation can borrow until January 2025. 

Biden promptly signed the bipartisan deal on Saturday. 

Not only did both Democrats and Republicans agree to allow the U.S. government to borrow unlimited sums to pay its hefty debts, but Congress brokered a deal to cut what House Speaker Kevin McCarthy called “runaway spending.”

While Republicans sought to cut national spending by beefing up the work requirements of participants in SNAP and TANF, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), says that the new requirements could increase federal spending by approximately $2.1 billion over the next ten years because more Americans would end up qualifying for programs.

The proposed changes to food stamps and other financial aid are likely merely Congressional talking points that the president has the authority and many tools to override, outmaneuver, and undo, Masbia Executive Director Alexander Rapaport tells Rockland Daily.

Even if the president does allow the changes, few residents of Boro Park fall into the categories that would be affected, Rapaport says.

“But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be concerned,” Rapaport says. “America was held hostage to the brink of financial default, and what Congress got out of it was to put a squeeze on poor people, which is sad: especially during a year in which the costs of food increased, while the monthly allocations to low-income Americans decreased.”

Now that the Fiscal Responsibility Act has passed both houses of Congress, Adults who are 49 years old and up and who are on SNAP would face new work requirements: for at least 80 hours a month, starting in the fall.

Among those exempted: women who are expecting, Americans who have mental or physical limitations, and people who care for children in their homes will be exempted. 

Veterans, the homeless, and young adults, aged 18 to 24, who recently left foster care will also be exempt from SNAP work requirements.

“Congress might get a cut to food stamps,” Rapaport says. “Wow. That is what they are celebrating?

“They didn’t stop corporate welfare, people evading taxes, or making sure that people pay their fair share. They went after the people who receive food stamps, and people are actually celebrating. 

“Regardless of whether these changes ever take place, the fact that it is a ‘victory’ to celebrate for some is just so sad.

“To me and to us in our community who care about others, these changes reflect a sad state about what makes people in Washington, DC, happy.”

Photo Credit: Flickr

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