Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy borrowed his punishing work requirement proposal from the conservative think tank pushing to loosen child labor laws.

By Julia Rock and Andrew Perez, The Lever

Republicans in Washington are threatening to blow up the United States’ economy unless Democrats agree to shrink the social safety net by adding work requirements to programs such as food assistance and healthcare. They are billing the effort — which would help corporations grow an exploitable workforce — as necessary to end dependency, boost the economy, and reduce the federal deficit.

congress with money in sky

In doing so, GOP lawmakers are following the agenda pushed by an obscure conservative think tank bankrolled by far-right billionaires and activists that was behind a recent slew of state bills rolling back child labor laws across the country. The effort comes several years after the GOP passed massive, deficit-busting tax cuts benefiting the wealthy and corporations — and as the party pushes to make those tax cuts permanent, at an estimated cost of $3.5 trillion.

In effect, Republicans want to force Americans in poverty to pick up the tab for the tax cuts they gave to their wealthy donors, while giving those donors more vulnerable workers to exploit.

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