The House-passed bill would require able-bodied adults up to age 55, without dependents, to engage in work-related activities for at least 20 hours a week under Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. That’s a first-time requirement under Medicaid, and an expansion of current rules for SNAP beneficiaries.
“If one person is strong and can work, there are 10 million [unfilled] jobs in America, only 5 million people are looking, going out and trying to find work,” said Oklahoma Rep. Kevin Hern, chairman of the Republican Study Committee, the largest bloc of House conservatives.
But House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries also called the job requirements a “nonstarter.” He said any attempt to attach work requirements to Medicaid, food stamps or basic welfare, known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, should be discussed as part of the normal legislative process — including farm bill talks – and not a debt limit agreement.
And Biden seemed to take Medicaid work requirements off the table Wednesday, saying that while he was open to minor tweaks to the current law’s mandates, he wouldn’t accept any impact medical coverage.
However, lawmakers appeared optimistic that a vote on a deal could come as early as next week.