Critics of entitlement programs have long demanded that drug testing be a part of receiving government benefits, and it looks like they’re finally going to get their wish.

According to a report from Breitbart News, President Trump’s Labor Department is rolling back Obama-era regulations that prohibited states from drug testing certain applicants for unemployment benefits. The new rules, they say, will vastly expand those required to submit to drug screening prior to being able to receive government benefits, all to ensure they’re ready to take a job when one becomes available.


Republicans used the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to repeal an Obama-era regulation that limited states’ ability to limit drug testing for people who apply for unemployment benefits.

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After President Trump signed the CRA repealing the Obama-era regulation, House Ways and Means chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) said:


President Trump just signed into law my bill that abolishes an Obama-era rule. After five years of battling with the Obama Department of Labor, states like Texas will now be allowed to drug test folks on unemployment to ensure they are job-ready from day one. This is a win for families, workers, job creators, and local economies.

Chairman Brady proposed the bill with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who sponsored the Senate version of the CRA.


According to Breitbart, Republicans argued that the 2016 rule from the Obama administration only allowed states to drug test those in occupations that already required such screenings, such as airline plots, flight crews, air traffic controllers, commercial and public transit drivers, and jobs that required employees to regularly carry a firearm.

President Trump’s Labor Department stated in its roadmap for new regulations that “states no longer have authority to drug test unemployment compensation applicants for whom suitable work is only available in occupations that regularly conduct drug testing for unlawful use of controlled substances,” which is why it’s now seeking to amend the prior administration’s restrictions.

Strategic Services on Unemployment and Workers’ Compensation President Doug Holmes said that those seeking state unemployment benefits need to make themselves ready and able to work as soon as there’s a job opening, and that includes being able to pass a drug screening.

“This is an insurance program, it’s not public assistance,” he said.

“An individual has to be available and able to work,” explained Holmes. “If they’re not available and able to work, week by week by week, then they don’t meet the requirements to be paid unemployment compensation benefits.”

He then added that if an unemployed person has a drug addiction problem preventing them from working, they should be sent to get treatment, not paid to stay home and do drugs.

“If an individual has a significant problem that renders him or her unavailable to work, the appropriate response is to refer them to a place to get help. They should not be paid unemployment benefits,” Holmes said.

While the new rule only applies to unemployment benefits, it signals a willingness for the Trump administration to tackle other areas of government assistance, such as the SNAP program, welfare, and Section 8, none of which require recipients to pass a drug screening in order to receive their payments. With President trump promising to take on entitlement reform in 2018, it’s more than likely that he’ll be looking to add drug screening as a requirement to receive government assistance, and rightfully so.

If those of us paying taxes are required to pass a drug test to provide the money used to pay out welfare benefits, then those receiving them should have to pass a drug test as well.

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