‘The Hill with April Ryan’: Congress passes debt ceiling bill, Michelle Obama exclusive

"The Hill" host April D. Ryan chats with former U.S. Rep. Ed Towns of New York, the widow of Huey P. Newton and former first lady Michelle Obama.

On this week’s episode of “The Hill With April Ryan,” theGrio’s Washington bureau chief and White House correspondent, April D. Ryan, examines the details of the debt limit bill passed by Congress this week – including objections over time limits for safety net programs like SNAP.

Former U.S. Rep. Ed Towns, D-N.Y., told theGrio that the negotiations between President Joe Biden and Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy should have been part of the “budget” process and not tied to raising the debt limit. 

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., speaks with members of the press after participating in a phone call on the debt ceiling with President Joe Biden, Sunday, May 21, 2023, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Cuts to social programs proposed by Republicans would add “pain and suffering for those on welfare,” Towns, who served in Congress during the presidency of Bill Clinton in the 1990s when Republicans led a similar mandate of work requirements for welfare recipients. 

Decades later, the former congressman said there’s a lesson to learn from those policies: “It did not work.”

Though Republicans were successful at expanding work requirements for SNAP and TANF recipients up to 54, Democrats were able to obtain exemptions for veterans, those who are homeless, and young people a part of the foster care system.

This week’s episode also explores the Republican anti-WOKE movement impacting Black communities and their ability to preserve Black history.

Fredrika Newton, the widow of Black Panther Party founder Huey P. Newton, spoke with theGrio about the targeting of Black history. She said the Black Panthers’ “survival programs” of the 1960s are still needed in Black communities in 2023.

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 03: Michelle Obama speaks at 2023 WSJ’s Future Of Everything Festival at Spring Studios on May 03, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Joy Malone/Getty Images)

And lastly, “The Hill” shares a clip of theGrio’s exclusive interview with former first lady Michelle Obama, who talked about why she still stands by her famous line: “When they go low, we go high.”

“Of course, the folks who go low come out on top from time to time, but if we lead with goodwill, if we keep our eyes set on the horizon, if we stay true to our values, we will not only feel better about who we are as individuals will help build the world we hope to see,” Mrs. Obama told theGrio. “See that’s why I will always stand by going high.”

Catch an all-new episode of “The Hill with April Ryan” every Thursday on theGrio.com and theGrio’s social media platforms.

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