US & World

Trump Wants To Limit Aid For Low-Income Americans. A Look At His Proposals

Harlem residents choose free groceries at the Food Bank For New York City in 2013. A number of new rules and actions proposed by the Trump administration could affect poor or low-income people who take advantage of government safety net programs.
Harlem residents choose free groceries at the Food Bank For New York City in 2013. A number of new rules and actions proposed by the Trump administration could affect poor or low-income people who take advantage of government safety net programs.
John Moore/Getty Images

If you're poor or low-income in the U.S. and take advantage of government safety net programs, you could be affected by a number of new rules and actions proposed by the Trump administration. Most of the changes are still pending, and anti-poverty groups are trying to stop them from going into effect. Some of the proposals already face legal challenges.

President Trump has said repeatedly that he wants to get more people off government aid and into the workforce so they can become self-sufficient. To help do that, he issued an executive order last year to reduce poverty "by promoting opportunity and economic mobility."

In it, Trump called on federal agencies to streamline existing welfare programs, strengthen work requirements and make sure that taxpayer money is spent on "those who are truly in need."

But anti-poverty advocates say the administration's proposals would hurt, rather than help, poor Americans. They say it will make it more difficult for those trying to become self-sufficient by denying them food, housing and medical assistance when they need it most.

"They really are trying to use every agency to make life harder for people who are low-income," says Elizabeth Lower-Basch, director of income and work supports at the Center for Law and Social Policy.

Deborah Weinstein, executive director of the Coalition on Human Needs, which represents about 100 anti-poverty groups nationwide, calls the volume of proposals targeting the safety net "head spinning."

Here are some of the main proposals and their status:


Food aid

Payday loans

Poverty line

Immigration

Housing

Medicaid work requirement

Census citizenship question

Overtime pay

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