PRESIDENT TRUMP’S ECONOMIC MOBILITY REFORMS WILL RESTORE INDEPENDENCE AND DIGNITY TO MILLIONS OF AMERICANS

 

THE WHITE HOUSE 

Office of the Press Secretary 

 

 

president DONALD J. trump’s economic mobility reforms will RESTORE INDEPENDENCE AND DIGNITY TO MILLIONS OF AMERICANS

“We can lift our citizens from welfare to work, from dependence to independence, and from poverty to prosperity.” – President Donald J. Trump

ACTION TOWARD REFORM: President Trump’s Executive Order on Economic Mobility takes the first steps toward welfare reform in America.

  • The order provides nine “Principles of Economic Mobility,” which will guide agencies that administer public assistance programs to effectively reform the welfare system by directing that they:
    • improve employment outcomes and economic independence; 
    • promote marriage and family as a way of escaping poverty; 
    • address the challenges of hard-to-employ populations; 
    • provide more flexibility to States, while ensuring accountability for achieving outcomes; 
    • streamline services to more effectively use taxpayer resources; 
    • reserve benefits for those truly in need; 
    • consolidate duplicative programs; 
    • facilitate greater sharing of information between States and localities; and 
    • empower the private sector to find solutions to poverty.
  • The order focuses on increasing opportunities for those in need by:
    • strengthening current work requirements;
    • empowering States, localities, tribal governments, and private-sector entities to serve individuals and families in need; and
    • using taxpayer dollars for their intended purpose, which includes ensuring only eligible persons receive benefits.
  • The order directs Federal agencies that administer public assistance programs to:
    • review all regulations and guidance documents relating to work;
    • ensure such regulations and documents are consistent with the principles for reform;
    • send a report to the President on what they can do to get Americans back to work; and
    • take steps to implement such recommendations.

 

WELFARE ENROLLMENT FOR ABLE-BODIED ADULTS IS AT RECORD HIGHS: Welfare enrollment is at a record high for able-bodied adults in America, despite near-record low unemployment in most places.

Under President Trump, unemployment has hit and remained at near-record lows, and businesses are facing labor shortages.

The United States unemployment rate has remained at 4.1 percent for the third straight month, which is the lowest level since 2000.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has not exceeded 4.8 percent during President Trump’s tenure.

According to a January 2018 survey released by the Federal Reserve, businesses across the country are having challenges finding enough workers to fill the quality jobs that are available.

Despite labor market shortages, welfare enrollment has remained at or near-historic highs.

In 2016, over 16 million able-bodied adults were enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

In January 2018, over 74 million Americans were enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), a 29 percent increase over the 2013 baseline period.

Today, there are a record 28 million able-bodied adults on Medicaid.  In fact, since 2000, the number of able-bodied adults on Medicaid has quadrupled.

 

WORK IS THE SOLUTION: Adding or enforcing work requirements for able-bodied adults on welfare is an effective solution to help millions of Americans regain their independence.

  • Work leads to a higher income than welfare can provide and is the best pathway to the middle class.
    • According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a hypothetical poor single-mother with two children could see her net annual income double with a part-time job at minimum wage, or even quadruple, with a full time job at minimum wage, compared to not working and receiving welfare.
    • U.S. Census Bureau data shows that more than 97 percent of people who work full-time move out of poverty.
  • Work is often the solution to many societal problems:
    • A non-violent offender’s ability to have and keep a job once released from prison reduces recidivism by twenty percent.
    • Those working are less likely to have kids before marriage and enter poverty.
    • According to the Harvard Business Review, employed people rate the quality of their lives much more highly on average than the unemployed.
  • Work decreases dependency on governmental assistance programs.
    • In States that have restored work requirements, people on welfare are twice as likely to work.
    • Welfare work requirements can cut the average time on the food stamp program in half.

 

REAL IMPACTS IN STATES: States that have enacted commonsense work requirements are seeing positive results, improving the lives of thousands of individuals and families.

  • After Kansas implemented work requirements for able-bodied, childless adults on food stamps, caseloads dropped by 75 percent and the average amount of time spent on welfare was cut in half. In addition, thousands of people went back to work in more than 600 industries.
  • Maine re-instated work requirements for able-bodied adults with no kids in 2014 and saw individuals’ incomes increase 114 percent in one year.
  • Studies conducted after reforms in Maine and Kansas show that individuals who left welfare and went back to work saw their incomes increase, more than doubling on average; this increase more than offset the welfare benefits they lost. Welfare enrollment also dropped by 75 to 90 percent.
  • More States have noticed and are leading the charge to provide greater opportunities to their citizens. Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin are currently implementing work requirements.

 

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THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 10, 2018


EXECUTIVE ORDER

 

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REDUCING POVERTY IN AMERICA

BY PROMOTING OPPORTUNITY AND ECONOMIC MOBILITY

 

 

     By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and to promote economic mobility, strong social networks, and accountability to American taxpayers, it is hereby ordered as follows:

 

     Section 1Purpose.  The United States and its Constitution were founded on the principles of freedom and equal opportunity for all.  To ensure that all Americans would be able to realize the benefits of those principles, especially during hard times, the Government established programs to help families with basic unmet needs.  Unfortunately, many of the programs designed to help families have instead delayed economic independence, perpetuated poverty, and weakened family bonds.  While bipartisan welfare reform enacted in 1996 was a step toward eliminating the economic stagnation and social harm that can result from long-term Government dependence, the welfare system still traps many recipients, especially children, in poverty and is in need of further reform and modernization in order to increase self-sufficiency, well-being, and economic mobility.

 

     Sec. 2Policy.  (a)  In 2017, the Federal Government spent more than $700 billion on low-income assistance.  Since its inception, the welfare system has grown into a large bureaucracy that might be susceptible to measuring success by how many people are enrolled in a program rather than by how many have moved from poverty into financial independence.  This is not the type of system that was envisioned when welfare programs were instituted in this country.  The Federal Government's role is to clear paths to self-sufficiency, reserving public assistance programs for those who are truly in need.  The Federal Government should do everything within its authority to empower individuals by providing opportunities for work, including by investing in Federal programs that are effective at moving people into the workforce and out of poverty.  It must examine Federal policies and programs to ensure that they are consistent with principles that are central to the American spirit -- work, free enterprise, and safeguarding human and economic resources.  For those policies or programs that are not succeeding in those respects, it is our duty to either improve or eliminate them.

 

     (b)  It shall be the policy of the Federal Government 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:

 

(i)     Improve employment outcomes and economic independence (including by strengthening existing work requirements for work-capable people and introducing new work requirements when legally permissible);

 

(ii)    Promote strong social networks as a way of sustainably escaping poverty (including through work and marriage);

 

(iii)   Address the challenges of populations that may particularly struggle to find and maintain employment (including single parents, formerly incarcerated individuals, the homeless, substance abusers, individuals with disabilities, and disconnected youth);

 

(iv)    Balance flexibility and accountability both to ensure that State, local, and tribal governments, and other institutions, may tailor their public assistance programs to the unique needs of their communities and to ensure that welfare services and administering agencies can be held accountable for achieving outcomes (including by designing and tracking measures that assess whether programs help people escape poverty);

 

(v)     Reduce the size of bureaucracy and streamline services to promote the effective use of resources;

 

(vi)    Reserve benefits for people with low incomes and limited assets;

 

(vii)   Reduce wasteful spending by consolidating or eliminating Federal programs that are duplicative or ineffective;

 

(viii)  Create a system by which the Federal Government remains updated on State, local, and tribal successes and failures, and facilitates access to that information so that other States and localities can benefit from it; and

 

(ix)    Empower the private sector, as well as local communities, to develop and apply locally based solutions to poverty.

 

     (c)  As part of our pledge to increase opportunities for those in need, the Federal Government must first enforce work requirements that are required by law.  It must also strengthen requirements that promote obtaining and maintaining employment in order to move people to independence.  To support this focus on employment, the Federal Government should:

 

(i)   review current federally funded workforce development programs.  If more than one executive department or agency (agency) administers programs that are similar in scope or population served, they should be consolidated, to the extent permitted by law, into the agency that is best equipped to fulfill the expectations of the programs, while ineffective programs should be eliminated; and 

 

(ii)  invest in effective workforce development programs and encourage, to the greatest extent possible, entities that have demonstrated success in equipping participants with skills necessary to obtain employment that enables them to financially support themselves and their families in today's economy.

 

     (d)  It is imperative to empower State, local, and tribal governments and private-sector entities to effectively administer and manage public assistance programs.  Federal policies should allow local entities to develop and implement programs and strategies that are best for their respective communities.  Specifically, policies should allow the private sector, including community and faith-based organizations, to create solutions that alleviate the need for welfare assistance, promote personal responsibility, and reduce reliance on government intervention and resources.

 

(i)   To promote the proper scope and functioning of government, the Federal Government must afford State, local, and tribal governments the freedom to design and implement programs that better allocate limited resources to meet different community needs. 

 

(ii)  States and localities can use such flexibility to devise and evaluate innovative programs that serve diverse populations and families.  States and localities can also model their own initiatives on the successful programs of others.  To achieve the right balance, Federal leaders must continue to discuss opportunities to improve public assistance programs with State and local leaders, including our Nation's governors.

 

     (e)  The Federal Government owes it to Americans to use taxpayer dollars for their intended purposes.  Relevant agencies should establish clear metrics that measure outcomes so that agencies administering public assistance programs can be held accountable.  These metrics should include assessments of whether programs help individuals and families find employment, increase earnings, escape poverty, and avoid long-term dependence.  Whenever possible, agencies should harmonize their metrics to facilitate easier cross-programmatic comparisons and to encourage further integration of service delivery at the local level.  Agencies should also adopt policies to ensure that only eligible persons receive benefits and enforce all relevant laws providing that aliens who are not otherwise qualified and eligible may not receive benefits.

 

(i)   All entities that receive funds should be required to guarantee the integrity of the programs they administer.  Technology and innovation should drive initiatives that increase program integrity and reduce fraud, waste, and abuse in the current system.

 

(ii)  The Federal Government must support State, local, and tribal partners by investing in tools to combat payment errors and verify eligibility for program participants.  It must also work alongside public and private partners to assist recipients of welfare assistance to maximize access to services and benefits that support paths to self-sufficiency.

 

     Sec. 3Review of Regulations and Guidance Documents.  (a)  The Secretaries of the Treasury, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, and Education (Secretaries) shall:

 

(i)    review all regulations and guidance documents of their respective agencies relating to waivers, exemptions, or exceptions for public assistance program eligibility requirements to determine whether such documents are, to the extent permitted by law, consistent with the principles outlined in this order;

 

(ii)   review any public assistance programs of their respective agencies that do not currently require work for receipt of benefits or services, and determine whether enforcement of a work requirement would be consistent with Federal law and the principles outlined in this order;

 

(iii)  review any public assistance programs of their respective agencies that do currently require work for receipt of benefits or services, and determine whether the enforcement of such work requirements is consistent with Federal law and the principles outlined in this order;

 

(iv)   within 90 days of the date of this order, and based on the reviews required by this section, submit to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy a list of recommended regulatory and policy changes and other actions to accomplish the principles outlined in this order; and

 

(v)    not later than 90 days after submission of the recommendations required by section 3(a)(iv) of this order, and in consultation with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, take steps to implement the recommended administrative actions.

 

     (b)  Within 90 days of the date of this order, the Secretaries shall each submit a report to the President, through the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, that:

 

(i)    states how their respective agencies are complying with 8 U.S.C. 1611(a), which provides that an alien who is not a "qualified alien" as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1641 is, subject to certain statutorily defined exceptions, not eligible for any Federal public benefit as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1611(c);

 

(ii)   provides a list of Federal benefit programs that their respective agencies administer that are restricted pursuant to 8 U.S.C. 1611; and

 

(iii)  provides a list of Federal benefit programs that their respective agencies administer that are not restricted pursuant to 8 U.S.C. 1611.

 

     Sec. 4Definitions.  For the purposes of this order:

 

     (a)  the terms "individuals," "families," and "persons" mean any United States citizen, lawful permanent resident, or other lawfully present alien who is qualified to or otherwise may receive public benefits;

 

     (b)  the terms "work" and "workforce" include unsubsidized employment, subsidized employment, job training, apprenticeships, career and technical education training, job searches, basic education, education directly related to current or future employment, and workfare; and

 

     (c)  the terms "welfare" and "public assistance" include any program that provides means-tested assistance, or other assistance that provides benefits to people, households, or families that have low incomes (i.e., those making less than twice the Federal poverty level), the unemployed, or those out of the labor force.

 

     Sec. 5General Provisions.  (a)  Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

 

(i)   the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

 

(ii)  the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

 

     (b)  This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

 

     (c)  This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

  

 

                                DONALD J. TRUMP

 

 

THE WHITE HOUSE,

    April 10, 2018.


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