The next big White House initiative after passing tax legislation will be "welfare reform," President Trump said Monday.
"We’re looking very strongly at welfare reform, and that’ll all take place right after taxes, very soon, very shortly after taxes," Trump said in brief comments at the White House.
The president said the White House would be submitting plans for initiatives on welfare as well as healthcare and infrastructure after the tax push. Welfare reform is "desperately needed in our country," he said.
As for the timing, Trump said he hoped that tax legislation would reach his desk by Christmas. That would be a "great big, beautiful Christmas present," he quipped. Last week, the House passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act supported by Trump, and the Senate advanced its version of the bill through committee.
In its fiscal 2018 budget, the White House proposed adding work requirements to a range of government programs, including the food stamp program, as a form of welfare reform. Budget Director Mick Mulvaney also offered spending reforms to Social Security disability under the same logic.
The White House budget proposal also included tighter eligibility requirements for low-income tax credits as a form of welfare reform. The tax legislation could advance that goal. The House version of the bill, for instance, would require taxpayers claiming child tax credits to provide Social Security numbers, which isn't required currently. While fiscal conservatives have said that such eligibility requirements would improve the integrity of low-income tax credits, critics argue that they would prevent mostly needy families from receiving benefits.