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Republicans Hope To Reduce Food Stamps, Welfare In Tax Reform Bill

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The conservative House Freedom Caucus (HFC) hopes to connect “real welfare reform” with the upcoming revamping of the tax code, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan announced Friday.

The Freedom Caucus would support higher spending in the budget, so long as Congress can save money reforming the welfare system with the tax bill.

“What we’re talking about putting forward is this: maybe we can live with a higher budget number if in fact we do real welfare reform on the tax bill,” Jordan said at a speech at the Heritage Foundation Friday, USA Today reports.

“The idea is if you’re able-bodied, you can’t be living on the taxpayer, getting help from the taxpayer, forever,” Jordan told USA Today.

President Donald Trump’s proposed 2018 budget suggested expanding work requirements for recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, also known as food stamps, and other welfare programs. Under current law, adults between 18 and 49 who don’t have children or disabilities have to work 80 hours per month, though some states still grant waivers to these requirements. Trump would like to expand the work requirements to all adults.

The White House Office of Management and Budget estimates that implementing work requirements could save $192 billion over the next decade.

Welfare programs like SNAP are mandatory spending programs, meaning that they are not accountable to the congressional budget process. Rules governing the food stamp program are usually updated in the farm appropriations bill, due to be negotiated in 2018.

Tax reform is high on Trump’s list of legislative priorities, and the Freedom Caucus hopes to bring the bill before the House by the end of the summer.

“We need to work through August recess to get everything done,” Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows of North Carolina said Tuesday. “We believe that we need to stay through August to get through tax reform … and get our appropriations done.”

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