NSC Responds to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s Work Requirements Proposal in Debt Limit Bill

April 20, 2023

WASHINGTON, DC – April 20, 2023 – Work requirements for SNAP, TANF, and Medicaid play a prominent role in the debt limit bill House Speaker Kevin McCarthy unveiled yesterday. The proposal from House Republican leadership recommends cuts to recently passed legislation and to programs that serve workers and businesses across the country. A bipartisan agreement on the U.S. debt limit is critical, but this process should not come at the cost to programs that support building an inclusive, 21st century economy. Brooke DeRenzis, Chief Strategy Officer at National Skills Coalition (NSC) released the following statement: 

“Work requirements don’t help people build new skills, and numerous studies show that they do not improve employment or earnings. Working people’s career opportunities shouldn’t be decided in a fight over the debt limit.  Instead of putting people at risk of losing food, healthcare, and other economic supports, policymakers should focus on investing in high-quality training, education, and safety net provisions that support people in building quality careers.”  

“In the case of SNAP, most participants who can work already do. The proposed work requirements would hurt people who are already facing a really challenging time in their lives – where they’ve lost their job, had their hours reduced, are caregiving for a sick family member, or facing some other economic hardship. They would take food away from people when they need it the most.” 

“Work requirements make it hard for people to participate in high-quality training programs to build skills and credentials that lead to a stable career and economic mobility. Instead, they encourage people to take the first job that’s available, even if it pays low wages. In addition, there is no evidence that work requirements help employers. In this tight labor market, employers are looking for workers with industry-specific skills and training. In the wake of the pandemic, they are especially seeking workers with digital skills.” 

“While work requirements were proposed as a cost-saving measure, administering and enforcing work requirements costs the government money. They also create red tape that is counterproductive for community colleges and training organizations that need flexibility to train people for jobs in our changing economy.” 

Rather than imposing work requirements on people with few financial resources – and putting them at risk of losing food, health care, and supports that make training more possible – federal policymakers should focus on strengthening workers’ access to high-quality education and training that leads to quality jobs and is aligned with local industry needs.” 


About NSC  

National Skills Coalition fights for inclusive, high-quality skills training so that people have access to a better life, and local businesses see sustained growth. We engage in analysis and technical assistance, organizing, advocacy, and communications to improve state and federal skills policies.