Republicans’ new welfare reform focus: Low-income men

By Tami Luhby

A generation ago, Republicans focused on reforming the nation’s safety net by requiring poor mothers to work.

These days, the Trump administration and Republican leaders are once again looking to overhaul government assistance programs. But now they are zeroing in on a new group: low-income men.

Much of the focus this time centers on requiring able-bodied, working age recipients to get jobs or participate in other community activities if they want to receive Medicaid or food stamps — two of the largest public aid programs in the US with tens of millions of enrollees each.

While women are certainly affected, many mothers can receive exemptions from the new mandates. So the requirements are falling more heavily on men.

“The poster-child mental image [policymakers] are painting is of men, especially young men,” said Elizabeth Lower-Basch, director of the income and work supports team at the left-leaning Center for Law and Social Policy.

Conservatives think working-age men who aren’t disabled and don’t have children should be expected to have jobs.

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