Nearly two-thirds of Americans back the House Republican debt limit plan to enact work requirements for Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), according to a poll released on Thursday.
The latest Axios-Ipsos American Health Index found that 63 percent of Americans — 80 percent of Republicans, 66 percent of independents, and 49 percent of Democrats — back work requirements for Medicaid and SNAP, otherwise known as food stamps.
President Joe Biden has begun caving to Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), signaling that he could accept work requirements for SNAP or the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, although he said he would not accept them for Medicaid. The 46th president said on Sunday that he voted for work requirements when he was a senator, backing the Clinton welfare reform bill in 1996.
Cliff Young, the president of Ipsos U.S. Public Affairs, said, “Americans have a long-standing belief in the value of work. Consequently, when presented with work requirements for government aid, particularly aid most people don’t personally access, we see majorities supporting the policy change.”
However, on Wednesday, Biden reiterated, “I’m not going to accept any work requirements that’s going to impact on medical health needs of people.”
Biden added, “It’s possible there could be a few others, but not anything of any consequence.”
McCarthy on Tuesday referred to enacting work requirements as a “red line” in continuing debt ceiling negotiations.
“When you’re talking about work requirements, remember what we’re talking about: Able-bodied people with no dependents. It’s 20 hours,” the speaker explained.
The House-passed debt ceiling plan, the Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023, would increase work requirements up to 20 hours per week for at least three months a year for those that benefit from government programs such as SNAP and TANF and would fulfill similar requirements for Medicaid.
McCarthy pushed back against Biden’s reluctance to accept more spending reforms, suggesting it would make America more indebted to China.
“What he’s saying is he would rather borrow money from China to pay able-bodied people with no dependents not to work instead of helping them get a job? I think that’s wrong,” the California conservative said.
He added, “Every moment I spent with the president, he doesn’t want to go there. He does not want to go back one dollar.”