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A Plan to Get Americans Back to Work

An employee organizes fireworks at Phantom Fireworks of Tampa South in Tampa, Fla., June 14.


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The American dream is rooted in a simple principle: If you’re willing to work hard, anything is possible. What’s troubling is that our leaders have lost sight of this. For our country to thrive, we can’t let their toxic plan of increased handouts and getting something for nothing continue. We need to value showing up and going to work.

I believe in the American dream because I’ve lived it. I grew up poor, lived in public housing, and watched my parents struggle every day to feed our family. My mom didn’t have much to give me and my siblings, so she instilled in us the value of hard work. I believe that any able-bodied, working-age adult who receives government benefits ought to work. That means those who receive benefits paid for with taxpayer dollars would have skin in the game and contribute to our economy.

That’s why I’m introducing the Let’s Get to Work Act. This legislation would end the current suspension of work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for able-bodied adults without dependents, which was put in place at the start of the pandemic. My bill would also expand the current SNAP work requirements to all able-bodied adults 50 to 59 and to parents with children 6 and older, while eliminating the “no good cause” exemptions that allow states to circumvent SNAP work requirements. Finally, the Let’s Get to Work Act would establish work requirements for public housing provided by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, applying the same standards currently in place for SNAP, plus the new standards I’ve outlined here, to all HUD housing and tenant-based rental assistance programs.

It’s simple: A job is the best thing for a family. A job brings income, independence and security.

Let’s talk about who isn’t included in what I am proposing. Parents of children under 6, those who care for incapacitated people, and those over 60 wouldn’t be subject to work requirements for the federal benefits I’ve outlined.

I am not proposing getting rid of any current federal benefits; I’m proposing to increase grace periods for parents who fail to meet work requirements from three months to six months in a three-year period and address issues like the marriage penalty to ensure that household benefits remain intact as long as one spouse fulfills the work requirement.

These are common-sense proposals, but I can already hear those on the left shouting them down. The same people who oppose work requirements decided that paying people more to sit at home than to go back to work was the best way for our economy to recover from the pandemic. This was the left’s boldest move in its government-backed war on work. That’s why I fought back from the start with an amendment to the Cares Act, which Senate Democrats blocked, to prevent unemployment benefits from exceeding a worker’s previous salary.

Leftists are at war with what has defined American excellence, and we can’t be shy about calling out their tactics and fighting their policies, no matter how loud and ridiculous the screaming and shaming become.

For the country to thrive, we need every American who can work to do so. We need as many Americans as possible to have skin in the game, participate in our great system, pay taxes, and not sit at home waiting for a government check. Government-run programs like SNAP and public housing are meant as safety nets for those in need. We need these programs, but we shouldn’t create a system that discourages work.

Americans want to support themselves and their families. They don’t want to rely on government handouts. It’s time to get America back on track and leave the disastrous social and economic policies of Joe Biden and the radical leftists in the past where they belong. If we’re going to rescue America, it’s time to get back to work.

Mr. Scott, a Republican, is a U.S. senator from Florida. He served as governor, 2011-19.

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Appeared in the June 21, 2022, print edition.

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