Spotlight Exclusives

Trump Executive Order Calls For More Work Requirements

Spotlight Staff Spotlight Staff, posted on

President Trump signed an executive order Tuesday directing federal agencies to increase work requirements for an array of safety net programs.

The order – titled “Reducing Poverty in America” – states that going forward, administration policy will be “to reform the welfare system of the United States so that it empowers people in a manner that is consistent with applicable law and the following principles, which shall be known as the Principles of Economic Mobility.”

  • Under the umbrella of promoting work, marriage and self-sufficiency, the order aims to:
  • Strengthen work requirements and introduce new ones when possible;
  • Promote social networks including marriage “as a way of sustainably escaping poverty;”
  • Give special focus to the struggles of disadvantaged groups such as people with disabilities, a history of incarceration, or substance abuse issues;
  • Give state and local governments more flexibility “to tailor their public assistance programs to the unique needs of their communities;” and
  • Reserve benefits “for people with low incomes and limited assets.”

The order gives Cabinet departments 90 days to propose plans to implement the order’s guidance.

“President Trump has directed his administration to study policies that are failing Americans,” Andrew Bremberg, the White House domestic policy adviser, told journalists Tuesday according to the New York Times.

Reaction from many anti-poverty groups was both negative and swift.

“The executive order signed by the Trump Administration yesterday is both cruel and wrongheaded,” the Shriver Center said on Twitter. “We stand against it.”

Rebecca Vallas, vice president for the Poverty to Prosperity Program at the Center for American Progress, tweeted that while the executive order has limited legal or policy weight, it comes as Congress is poised to have a crucial debate on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

“This EO itself doesn’t carry any real weight – it directs agencies to review programs that help families make ends meet. Its real purpose is to smear the programs Trump and his colleagues in Congress want to slash,” Vallas said.


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