House Republicans to hold debate on ‘welfare reform’ after the full House
Republican leaders are set to hold a two-hour closed-door meeting Wednesday to discuss the House GOP’s plan to overhaul the nation’s welfare system and to unveil the draft bill that they hope to bring to President Donald Trump’s desk by the end of the month.GOP lawmakers are expected to unveil their draft bill Wednesday, a process that will include a closed-doors vote on the legislation, a closed session and a public comment period, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters at the Capitol.
The House GOP bill would give states more flexibility to expand or scale back benefits, with a waiver from federal law that could make it easier for states to scale back payments to states and individuals that do not comply with the new rules.
It would also repeal a requirement that states provide coverage to a minimum of three months of children who are uninsured.
The White House has been pushing Congress to pass a welfare reform bill, but the White House is urging Congress to leave the matter to Trump, saying it has a mandate to pass the bill by June and has been working with Democrats on legislation.
Republicans have been working on the bill for weeks, and McCarthy told lawmakers Thursday that the Senate has also started drafting its version.
He declined to specify what the Senate bill would look like.
House Republicans have been trying to craft a bill that will take on some of the most burdensome aspects of the Obama-era welfare overhaul, such as the $800 billion cut to the federal food stamp program that President Donald J. Trump signed in January.
The bill would allow states to waive the cost-sharing requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which is currently administered by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), as well as the requirement that recipients get health insurance.
The House version would also allow states the option to reduce benefits or allow them to opt out of the mandate entirely.
It would also eliminate the requirement for federal funds to go to states to pay for private insurance for people with low incomes.
The proposal is aimed at keeping some of those benefits, which Republicans say are necessary to provide health coverage to millions of people, as the federal government continues to run up huge deficits.
Democrats have been opposed to some of Trump’s executive actions, such an executive order in April allowing people to deduct a small amount of federal taxes from their income and making it easier to qualify for tax credits.
But they also support some of his measures.
The president has said the bill is needed to help the economy and said that he would like to see some reforms to the welfare system, which is one of the main reasons that he was reelected.
Democrats say the GOP proposal will create more work for people, especially children.
“This is not a proposal to cut people’s wages, it’s a proposal that takes away their dignity,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said.
The Democrats are pressing for changes that would increase incentives for states, including expanding the number of SNAP recipients to help offset costs.
Republicans have said the SNAP program will not be scaled back under the proposal.
“Our goal is to give states the flexibility to be able to work with the states and expand the programs in a way that works for people,” McCarthy said.