President Donald Trump is dedicated to reforming social welfare programs in the United States in 2018, although some Republicans are hesitant to address the controversial issue in a congressional election year.
According to Reuters, an initiative led by the White House to curtail government aid programs such as food stamps and housing subsidies would attract conservative campaign donors to Republicans ahead of the November mid-term elections.
White House aides said that Trump, along with House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, are prepared to tackle welfare reform. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is not as eager to address the issue due to worries over maintaining the Republicans’ 51-49 majority in the Senate.
Trump has drawn criticism from Democrats who have derided him for identifying welfare reform as a major goal in 2018, claiming that proposed cuts would be utilized to help fund tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy featured in his new tax plan.
Trump will host Republican congressional leaders at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland this weekend, where they will discuss 2018 priorities, including welfare and infrastructure investment.
Conservative House Republicans strongly support a welfare overhaul in 2018. Freedom Caucus leader Mark Meadows and former leader of the caucus, U.S. Representative Jim Jordan, have addressed the issue with Trump and are confident that he supports their positions, including strengthening work requirements for food stamps.
“He definitely gets it,” Jordan said.
Other Republicans and interest groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers prefer lawmakers to focus on infrastructure spending in 2018.