NBC, CBS Echo Dems On GOP’s ‘Cruel’ Work For Welfare Debt Limit Demand

News & Politics

CBS Saturday Morning and NBC’s Today put their thumb on the scales for Democrats as the White House and House Republicans seek to negotiate a deal to raise the nation’s debt limit. When it came to the GOP demand to add some work requirements for certain welfare programs, both networks would provide Democratic statements denouncing the idea with no corresponding Republican statement.

CBS Washington correspondent Christina Ruffini was more aggressive in addressing the issue, reporting that “One remaining sticking point, work requirements for social welfare benefits, including nutritional assistance programs.”

After playing a clip of GOP negotiator Rep. Garret Graves telling reporters that “hell no, hell no, not a chance” they won’t drop the demand, Ruffini continued, “In a statement Friday evening the White House accused Republicans of trying to “take food out of the mouths of hungry Americans” and said Democrats would stand against, quote, “this cruel and senseless tradeoff.”  

No quote from Graves or anyone else was given why work requirements would be a good thing or that President Biden once supported such a policy. The GOP position got a simple acknowledgement of its existence while the Democratic position got an emotional quote to go along with it.

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A similar pattern occurred earlier with NBC White House correspondent Monica Alba declaring, “While progress has been made and the key negotiators have called the talks candid and productive, there are major sticking points here. Republicans want stricter work requirements with federal benefits while Democrats say that would plunge the Americans who rely on them into poverty.”

Unlike CBS, Democrats did not get a quote to go along with their position, but they still got the emotional appeal that comes with the summation “plunge…into poverty” while Republicans got nothing. 

Meanwhile, the Saturday edition of ABC’s Good Morning America played it more down the middle, simply acknowledging that welfare work requirements were a “major sticking point” in negotiations.

CBS Saturday Morning was sponsored by Ashley and Today was sponsored by Citi.

Here are transcripts for the May 27 shows:

NBC Today

5/27/2023

7:07 AM ET

MONICA ALBA: President Biden left the White House last night for Camp David very optimistic a deal could come together this weekend as his top aides keep working with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s team. While progress has been made and the key negotiators have called the talks candid and productive, there are major sticking points here. 

Republicans want stricter work requirements with federal benefits while Democrats say that would plunge the Americans who rely on them into poverty. Another hurdle, Democrats want the eventual agreement to lift the debt ceiling for two years. The Republicans are pushing for a shorter extension with spending cuts and caps in place. And look, there are still incredible risks to waiting until the last minute to raise the borrowing limit including a credit downgrade for the U.S., which is what happened when a similar standoff took place in 2011. 

***

CBS Saturday Morning

5/27/2023

8:07 AM ET

CHRISTINA RUFFINI: CBS News has learned the potential deal would likely raise the debt limit for about two years, cap federal spending for two years, excluding defense and veterans benefits, and increase all discretionary spending, including defense, by one percent in 2025. One remaining sticking point, work requirements for social welfare benefits, including nutritional assistance programs. 

REPORTER: Are you willing to drop that, work requirement, and just – 

GARRET GRAVES: Hell no, hell no, not a chance. 

RUFFINI: In a statement Friday evening the White House accused Republicans of trying to “take food out of the mouths of hungry Americans” and said Democrats would stand against, quote, “this cruel and senseless tradeoff.” 

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