Ernst: Those That Are Able Bodied Should Be Working

Washington, DC — Iowa Senator Joni Ernst says the recent deal to raise the nation’s borrowing limit wasn’t perfect, but it was acceptable to enough Republicans and Democrats to avert a federal government default.

President Biden said months ago he would not negotiate on raising the so-called debt ceiling, but the bill he signed last week includes spending reforms. Ernst and the rest of Iowa’s congressional delegation voted for it.

The deal removes work requirements for veterans and homeless adults who receive what are commonly called food stamps, but more older adults who do not have children will be required to work. Under current rules able-bodied adults between the ages of 18 and 49 who don’t have dependents must work or be training for a new job at least 20 hours a week to qualify for food stamps. By 2025, that rule will apply to about 750,000 more Americans between the ages of 50 and 54.

According to the USDA, 41 million Americans received government food assistance at some point last year. Some Democrats say low income older Americans who’ve been laid off and face age discrimination as they look for a new job will likely become ineligible for food stamps just when they need the help. Some Republicans say the work requirements don’t go far enough and they’ll press for action on the issue in the next Farm Bill.