CHN: President Trump Signs Executive Order on Work Requirements
On April 10, President Trump issued an executive order directing several federal agencies to review government assistance programs with the purpose of adding or strengthening work requirements for benefits recipients. The affected agencies, which include the Departments of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Education, Labor, Transportation, Commerce, Agriculture and Treasury, are directed to report recommendations on such work requirements to the White House within 90 days. While the executive order does not implement new policy at this time, it is seen by advocates as a continuation and expansion of the efforts by the Trump administration and some in Congress to curtail public benefits for low-income Americans.
Advocates were quick to speak out against the executive order, calling it an attack on people who are working in low-wage, often part-time jobs and those who cannot work for a number of reasons, including caregiving responsibilities. Advocacy groups were also quick to point to a number of pieces showing that work requirements harm already-struggling people rather than help them, and that federal investments in employment and job training services, which would actually help move those who can work into good jobs with sustainable wages, have declined over the past several decades. Advocates have long opposed the addition of work requirements on benefits for low-income people citing, among other reasons, that access to medical care, food, and housing are critical to keeping people healthy, which allows them to work.