Republicans' work requirements 'obsession' is 'offensive' to poor people,' CNN commentator complains

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Republicans’ "obsession" with work requirements are "offensive" to poor people and could produce a backlash, CNN political commentator Ashley Allison said on Sunday..

She appeared on a panel discussion during "State of the Union" to react to the news that Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., reached an agreement to raise the debt ceiling after months of debate.

McCarthy has argued that while some Republicans were unhappy with the concessions in the agreement, there is "not one thing in the bill for Democrats." One of the Republicans’ concessions, however, included removing work requirements for social programs like Medicaid and SNAP, something  that Allison insisted is "offensive." 

"I think it’s important to also note that Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, all staying safe, not being touched at all. I think the Republican’s obsession with work requirements are offensive to poor people, assuming that people want to be poor and don’t have the fight inside of them to work hard. It’s offensive, and I think it will ultimately come a backlash. But the way that they were able to negotiate and protect veterans, people who are homeless is really important," Allison said.

Members of the Freedom Caucus such as Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, have voiced their displeasure over the agreement, particularly its lack of work requirements for social programs as well as a lack of significant budget cuts.

Allison also showed concerns about House Republicans turning against the bill and whether McCarthy can successfully rally his party.

"I also think though is Kevin McCarthy going to be able to get it done in his caucus? I mean we were all sitting here at two in the morning seeing if he could get speaker votes. We weren’t sure what concessions he made. Can he hold his caucus together, or will he have to rely on Democrats yet again, so our country doesn’t default?" Allison said.

Allison's comments echo, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., who criticized the idea of work requirements in another segment of th show, saying that it would actually "hurt poor people."

"We’ve seen reams of data that show that when you put these work requirements in, they’re really just administrative red tape that prevent the people who need help from getting help," Jayapal said.

McCarthy claimed Republicans are largely in favor of the agreement. According to the House Speaker, the bill will sit for public review for 72 hours before finally coming up for a vote on Wednesday. The vote would come days before the new June 5 default deadline provided by the Treasury Department.


  1. Representative Chip Roy, a member of the Freedom Caucus from Texas, has expressed his dissatisfaction with the agreement, especially its absence of work requirements for social programs and the absence of substantial budget reductions.


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