Few states have to meet that standard, however, because they are allowed to lower the required percentage by reducing the caseload compared to what it was in 2005, or spending more state money on the program. than needed, according to the Congressional Research Service.
Ways and Means Committee Republicans said in a summary of the GOP proposal that by 2021, only six states would have to comply with the 50 percent requirement, while 34 states would use credits to reduce the work requirement to zero. . In its report, CRS said the credits allow states to “not have families participating in work or activities but still meet their work participation standard.”
The GOP legislation would reset the baseline for calculating reductions from the 2005 caseload to the 2022 caseload. The number of families receiving benefits dropped by more than 50 percent during that time, though , from about 2.1 million to less than 1 million, according to The data of the Department of Health and Human Services. That means under the House bill, states would have few if any credits available to reduce the number of recipients who must work.
That’s the point, according to Matt Weidinger, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a right-wing think tank. He said the changes are aimed to fulfill the purpose of the 1996 law to move more people to jobs.
“The real purpose of doing this is to reboot the work participation requirement and once again expect states to participate in half their caseload in activities,” said Weidinger, a former assistant to Ways and Means GOP.