The Trump administration passed a new legislation called the farm bill on Thursday which will require Americans to fulfill further work requirements in order to apply for food stamps. The president has long voiced his intentions to make it more difficult to receive government assistance. This new bill is meant to cut back on long-term government assistance reliance by requiring those seeking food stamps to hold a job or join an employment program as well as pass regular drug tests. The bill was harshly criticized by many, including Chelsea Clinton who shared her concerns through Twitter, according to AOL.
The daughter of former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton believes Trump’s actions will make life significantly more difficult for thousands of financially struggling Americans. “Merry Christmas from President Trump – taking away nutritional support for 755,000 struggling Americans,” Clinton tweeted Friday. Meanwhile, the Trump administration insists that the farm bill is intended to promote self sufficiency. The goal is to revert government assistance back to its original purpose, helping American’s through difficult times without encouraging lifelong dependency.
The Trump administration is going around lengthy farm bill negotiations to push for rule that would force more people who enroll in food stamps to comply with work requirements. https://t.co/O4dmJp6nmQ pic.twitter.com/DQpvtfubnI— ABC News (@ABC) December 22, 2018
The new rule will apply only to healthy, able-bodied adults. It will not affect pregnant women, disabled individuals, or the elderly, according to ABC. “Long-term reliance on government assistance has never been part of the American dream,” said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. “As we make benefits available to those who truly need them, we must also encourage participants to take proactive steps toward self-sufficiency. Moving people to work is common-sense policy, particularly at a time when the unemployment rate is at a generational low.”
The president hopes that the bill will encourage those who are unemployed to get back to work, without having the option to rely solely on the government for assistance. The administration released a statement regarding the new legislation, discussing the various benefits it will yield. “These actions will save hardworking taxpayers $15 billion over 10 years and give President Trump comfort enough to support a farm bill he might otherwise have opposed,” Perdue told reporters.
Despite startling unemployment rates, the Trump administration claims that there are plentiful opportunities available to those who desire to work. However, those who oppose the new bill are concerned about how struggling Americans will be able to afford proper nutrition without this assistance. Robert Campbell, policy director for the anti-hunger group Feeding America, spoke to ABC News about these fears. “We’re concerned that taking food away from people will not make them more employable and it will not help them in their prospects,” he said.