Before the election of 2016, many people were spreading doom and gloom over what a Trump presidency would do. They claimed that Trump would not push a conservative agenda as president.
They even insisted that Hillary would be a better choice. Today, they are on a diet of humble pie. During this past weekend at Camp David, President Trump met with top leaders of the House and Senate Republicans and one of his major plans for 2018 is the reform of the welfare program. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is an enthusiastic supporter but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell does not believe he can get it passed in the Senate unless some Democrats join in.
President Trump has put Social Security and Medicare on the protected list and plans on concentrating on the welfare program. One of his reforms includes a work requirement for those collecting benefits. That will not be popular with the liberal Democrats in Congress. But it will be with conservatives and moderate Democrats and Democrats running for reelection in 2018 may find that voting against welfare reform could cost them their seats especially in red states where Donald Trump won easily. We saw the same thing happen after the Democrats pushed Obamacare through Congress.
Many conservatives are skeptical of Paul Ryan’s leadership, which many point to as less than conservative in nature. But Paul Ryan has long had his eye on welfare reform and is enthusiastic about tackling the problem. The measure will probably pass in the House fairly easily but will get stiff resistance in the Senate. But this could be a win/win situation for Republicans.
If it becomes law, it would be a huge win for Republicans and President Trump. If it fails to pass, that would mean that vulnerable Democrats in the Senate could lose their reelection bids and give Republicans enough Senators to pass whatever they like in 2019.
Reforming welfare is far from a topic that would bring about bipartisanship. Democrats view most welfare programs as entitlements — vital programs that are meant to increase the standard of living for the poor. Furthermore, reforming welfare programs would not be met with applause from their constituents, leaving little reason to reach across the aisle.
The Democratic position on the issue, after a number of conversations with staffers and members, is that there is a willingness to reform some federal programs, but not to help pay for the near $1.5 trillion increase to the federal deficit the Republican tax bill levied.
Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota told TheDCNF
“Improvements should be made to federal programs. But veiled efforts to cut critical programs like Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security that are lifelines to millions of seniors, individuals with disabilities, and low-income families to pay for a nearly $1.5 trillion tax bill aren’t the way to do it.”
Heitkamp is a vulnerable Senator up for reelection in 2018 and a prime target of Republicans. She makes the case that cutting Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security is bad policy but her statement is smoke and mirrors because there are no plans to cut Medicare and Social Security, which are popular programs and welfare and Medicaid are unpopular, which will face cuts.
Adding back work requirements for food stamps in 2017 led to a sharp drop in the number of beneficiaries in that program. The same could very well work on welfare too.
More winning from President Donald Trump.