The Washington Examiner
Sen. Rick Scott
May 15, 2023
For our country to thrive, we need every person who can work to do so. That’s why I was thrilled to see much of my Let’s Get to Work Act included in the good bill that House Republicans recently passed to raise the debt ceiling and make structural changes to how Washington works and spends your money.
Yet, as Republicans work to bring fiscal sanity and accountability back to Washington, the Left is getting help from its friends in the media to label our plans to reinstate work requirements as limiting access to federal benefits. Stories such as this one from NBC News claim that work requirements “make it harder for older residents to qualify for food assistance, part of a growing conservative push to winnow SNAP rolls as the pandemic recedes.” This is a dangerous lie, and if we do nothing, the Left’s war on work will destroy the American dream as we know it.
The truth is that the work requirements proposed in my bill and the House debt ceiling plan don’t change which benefits are available or who is eligible for those benefits. We are simply reinstating pre-pandemic work requirements for federal food stamp benefits and establishing new work requirements for those receiving benefits, such as federal public housing and rental assistance. The point these bills make is that all able-bodied people up to age 59 ought to work if they want to receive taxpayer-funded federal benefits. Anyone who tells you that this is limiting access to these programs is lying to you and arguing that people are too lazy and reliant on the government to get a job. That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard.
The Left has made clear that it wants the public unemployed, unmotivated, and totally dependent on government handouts. If Democrats get their way, it will soon be wildly taboo to say that you believe that any able-bodied, working-age adult who receives government benefits ought to work. Fortunately, people know that work is vital, especially for those with families. A job creates income, independence, and security. It’s the foundation of the American dream.
Living your dreams in this country takes work. I know that firsthand. I immediately think of what my mother would think of the Left’s position today. She believed in the American dream, so when she told me as a child that I could do anything if I worked hard because I was blessed to live in America, she meant it. I was born to a single mother, grew up poor, lived in public housing, and watched my mother 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. Instead, she instilled in us the value of hard work.
When I was in second grade, I got a job selling TV Guides door to door to make a little money. By the time I was 13, I had moved on to being a fry cook at a local burger place. At 15, I was stocking shelves at my grocery store. Having these jobs was a necessity for me. But, this early introduction to working was a far greater blessing than a burden and taught me the values of being dependable and working hard.
I carried these lessons with me through school, starting my first business, leading the largest healthcare company in the world, and eventually running to be the governor of Florida in 2010. Back then, you could ask me what the weather was, and I’d tell you about my plan to have Florida businesses create 700,000 jobs in seven years. My campaign slogan was “Let’s Get to Work,” a mantra we put into action with massive economic wins, which led to the creation of nearly 1.7 million new, private sector jobs from hardworking job creators during my eight years in office.
Having pride in work is what has set America apart and put our nation ahead for generations. The battle before us is about whether America will emerge from the pandemic closer to or further from a socialist state.
Working hard isn’t a radical idea. It’s common sense. We cannot abandon that now and accept massive dependence on the government. Doing so would be a betrayal of our values, the same values my mother worked so hard to instill in me. I’ll never stop fighting to preserve the pride in hard work that established and will maintain America’s place as the greatest nation on Earth.