The change to the federal SNAP program, which is overseen by the USDA, comes on the same day President Trump is expected to sign the $867 billion farm bill into law.
"These actions will save hard-working taxpayers $15 billion over 10 years," said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, adding that the proposed rule would also get Trump "to support a farm bill he might otherwise have opposed."
Under current law, able-bodied adults without dependents — commonly referred to by the acronym "ABAWDs" — are required to work 20 hours a week or be in a job training program. An ABAWD is classified as someone 18 to 49 who is not elderly, a woman who is pregnant or someone living with a disability.
According to a USDA fact sheet, 2.8 million individual ABAWDs on SNAP rolls in 2016 were not working. If the proposed rule change from USDA is approved, roughly 755,000 would lose food stamp benefits as a result of the new waiver restrictions.
This is the latest push by the Trump administration to call for stricter work requirements as a way to move more Americans off public assistance and toward self-sufficiency, often pointing to the low unemployment rate, currently at 3.7 percent, as evidence jobs are available.
"This restores the dignity of work to a sizable segment of our population, while it's also respectful of the taxpayers who fund the [SNAP] program," Perdue said.
Farm bill negotiations were bogged down for months over work requirement provisions included in the House-passed version of the farm bill. Those provisions, supported by House Republicans and the president were eventually weeded out of the final bill.
Democrats on Capitol Hill lambasted the proposal, including Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., the ranking member on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, saying the change was "driven by ideology."
"This regulation blatantly ignores the bipartisan Farm Bill that the president is signing today and disregards over 20 years of history giving states flexibility to request waivers based on local job conditions," Stabenow said in a statement.
"I do not support unilateral and unjustified changes that would take food away from families," she said.
Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, the chairman of the House Agriculture committee, cheered the administration's push.
"This is an issue we took head-on in the House-passed farm bill, creating a road map for states to more effectively engage [able-bodied adults without dependents] in this booming economy," Conaway said in a statement.
"I applaud the proposed rule and proudly stand with the Trump administration in demonstrating the importance of state accountability and recipient success."