Published by:


Work Requirements in Senate Budget Harm Low

Washington, D.C.—The Senate Budget Committee has passed a budget resolution that the full Senate will consider when it returns from recess on October 16. This proposal, as well as others from President Trump and the U.S. House of Representatives, would be deeply damaging to poor and low-income people by sacrificing critical revenue to subsidize more benefits for the wealthy. Congress should reject proposals like these that would significantly cut taxes for corporations and the wealthy, provide little if any benefit to low-income workers, and slash needed revenue for programs that support children, families, and individuals of modest means such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), nutrition assistance, and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
The policies in this resolution are presented under the guise of economic growth, despite empirical evidence to the contrary. In reality, the budget proposal would exacerbate economic inequality that for decades has allowed the wealthiest individuals to claim all the benefits of increased productivity, while income for the middle class has stagnated. For example, the budget proposal would cut the top individual tax rate—which benefits fewer than 1 in 100 households—and would lower taxes on “pass-through” income, providing the 400 highest income households with a windfall of $5.5 million each. Similarly, the proposal would lower the corporate tax rate despite economic evidence that corporate tax cuts benefit CEOs and investors, not workers.
CLASP is particularly concerned about Senator John Kennedy’s (R-LA) amendment to the budget resolution that would ease the path for Congress to add or expand so-called work requirements for all federal means-tested welfare programs. This is despite decades of experience showing that work requirements do very little to increase employment and economic security for those struggling to make ends meet. As the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has noted, states may use work requirements as a tool to "reduce enrollment and the associated costs ."
We know these requirements are counterproductive and do not represent a serious effort to promote work because Federal laws already impose such requirements on people receiving cash assistance in TANF and in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Evidence from TANF and SNAP shows that work requirements do little to improve work outcomes . In fact these programs demonstrate that the main effect of work requirements is to discourage enrollment, keeping these critical benefits from those who need them the most. Low-wage workers may lose benefits simply because their employer won’t give them enough hours or because they…

QR Code
Embed the QR code on your website:
Download
Copy