Last week on the podcast I predicted that the chief sticking point on a deal to raise the debt ceiling wouldn’t be any of the GOP demands for spending restraint, but rather the demand for new work requirements of able bodied welfare recipients. Because the left views welfare and other income support programs as means of entitled redistribution without reciprocal obligation rather than relief from unfortunate circumstances, Democrats would resist. And sure enough:
The head of the House Democrats said this week that tougher work requirements for social benefits won’t fly with members of his caucus, setting the stage for a drag-out fight with GOP leaders who are insisting on those provisions as a condition of raising the debt ceiling.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) on Monday night told members of the Democrats’ Steering and Policy Committee that “work requirements are a nonstarter” as bipartisan negotiators seek a deal to prevent a government default, according to a spokesperson.
Kevin McCarthy is holding fast, apparently working to get Lucretia’s approval for an unthinkable three weeks in a row:
Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Tuesday said work requirements for public assistance programs are a nonnegotiable in debt ceiling talks, laying out one of his first hard stances ahead of an afternoon meeting with President Biden and other top congressional leaders.
Asked whether work requirements were a “red line” for him in debt ceiling negotiations, McCarthy said: “Yes, it is.”
McCarthy has public opinion massively on his side. Our friends at the Committee to Unleash Prosperity point out the result of the recent advisory measure on the ballot in Wisconsin, in an election where Republicans otherwise fared poorly:
Go Team Kevin!