On Tuesday, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy took to the morning shows to boast about a deal made between Republicans and White House leadership to raise the debt ceiling in exchange for spending cuts and work requirements. And one of the benefits of the deal, according to McCarthy? Requiring kids to work for their benefits.
“In this family, we may have a child that [is] able-bodied, not married, no kids, but he’s sitting on the couch collecting welfare,” McCarthy said on Fox. “We’re going to put work requirements on that individual, so he’s going to have work requi—he’s going to get a job. And he’s gonna make the life easier.”
It’s unclear what exactly McCarthy is referring to in his remarks. The debt deal proposes imposing new work requirements for food assistance, or SNAP, on childless adults aged 54 and younger—raising the current maximum age of 49. The bill also lowers the percentage of people states can exempt from work requirements for SNAP. But all homeless people, veterans, and young people aging out of foster care will be exempt from the requirements. There’s not much else the bill does to target “children” sitting on their parents’ couches.
As far as cash assistance goes, the bill modifies the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families formula, potentially making it harder for some states to disburse cash assistance at all.
All that is to say, McCarthy is doing his routes on the TV news circuit, boasting about putting work requirements on “children,” all while actually not doing so at all. He’s reminding the country of Republicans’ desire to turn kids into laborers, and also misleading conservatives who actually do want such work requirements.