Sen. Rick Scott Reintroduces Bill to Get Americans Back to Work
January 24, 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, to kick off the start of the 118th Congress, Senator Rick Scott reintroduced his Let’s Get to Work Act. This legislation encourages Americans who are able to work to return to the workforce by ending the current suspension of work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which was put in place during the pandemic, and expands these requirements to apply to all able-bodied adults receiving benefits who are under 60-years-old and do not have children under the age of six or care for incapacitated individuals. This legislation also establishes similar work requirements for individuals receiving federal benefits through the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Public Housing and Tenant-Based Rental Assistance programs. Read more about Senator Scott’s proposal in his Wall Street Journal op-ed HERE.
Senator Rick Scott said, “For too long, the Left has waged a war on work. That needs to end today. Policies put in place during the pandemic to pay people more to sit at home than go back to work are the radical Left’s latest and boldest move to boost government dependency. If we let it go on, it will ruin our country. That’s why, today, I am reintroducing my Let’s Get to Work Act. Americans know that a job is the very best thing for a family. A job creates income, independence and security – it’s the foundation of the American Dream. But living your dreams in this country takes work and I know that firsthand. I grew up poor, lived in public housing and watched my mom work hard every day just to put food on the table. I thank God that she never told me or my siblings to expect a handout and instilled in us the value of hard work. For our country to thrive, we need every American who can work to do so. I believe that any able-bodied, working-age adult who receives government benefits ought to work. This requirement means that those who receive benefits paid for with taxpayer dollars contribute to our economy.
“The American people want to work. People want to support themselves and their families, and be independent, not reliant on government programs. It’s time to get America back on track and leave the disastrous social and economic policies of Joe Biden and the radical leftists in power in the past where they belong. If we’re going to rescue America, it’s time to get back to work and I’ll be continuing my fight every day to get the Let’s Get to Work Act passed and signed into law.”
Tarren Bragdon, President and CEO of The Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) and CEO of The Opportunity Solutions Project, said, “We know work works. Americans have long understood and overwhelmingly supported work requirements in the food stamp and housing programs. At a time of record-high open jobs and record-low labor force participation, Senator Scott's commonsense reforms are critical to tame inflation and get Americans back to work. As Governor of Florida, Sen. Scott saw the power of work requirements in action lifting people out of poverty and driving economic growth for all, and he is continuing this fight in the 118th Congress. The Let’s Get to Work Act is powerful and proven legislation that will raise up individuals from dependency to self-sufficiency and empower them through work.”
Ryan Walker, Vice President of Government Relations at Heritage Action, said, "Like all Americans, low-income individuals desire and deserve opportunities for themselves and their children. Government programs should incentivize work, not discourage it. Working is the most effective way for individuals to start down a pathway to success and fulfillment. Getting more individuals into the workforce will reduce poverty, long-term government dependence, and social isolation. Senator Scott’s legislation will ensure that the federal government is not keeping low-income Americans in a cycle of poverty and government dependence by expanding work requirements for work-capable adults."
David McIntosh, President of Club for Growth, said, “Work requirements help foster an economic environment of increased labor participation and new skills obtainment. While federal anti-poverty programs often trap Americans in government dependency, work requirements result in increased prosperity and upward mobility. We commend Senator Scott for his effort to reform work requirements in SNAP and public housing, and hope this legislation continues the discussion on work requirements as Congress considers reauthorization of the Farm Bill in 2023.”
The Let’s Get to Work Act will:
- End the current suspension of SNAP’s work requirements for Able-Bodied Adults without Dependents (ABAWDs) put in place during COVID-19.
- Expand SNAP work requirements to able-bodied adults aged 50-59 and to parents of children over 6 years old, with the exception of parents with children under the age of 6 and persons who care for incapacitated individuals.
- Eliminate “no-good-cause” exemptions from the SNAP ABAWD work requirement that allows states to circumvent SNAP work requirements.
- Establish work requirements for Public Housing by applying these same SNAP work requirements to HUD Public Housing and Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (voucher) programs.
- Make improvements to work requirements for federal benefits by addressing the marriage penalty and increasing the grace period for parents:
- To address the marriage penalty, the bill exempts one spouse from the work requirement if the other fulfills it. This is accomplished by adding to the list of exempted individuals a married person who is responsible for a dependent individual and who resides in the household with a spouse in compliance with all applicable work requirements.
- The bill increases the “grace window” for those parents with dependents who fail to meet the work requirement from 3 months in a 3-year window to 6 months in a 3-year period to account for the added complexities in these households.