Congress Just Voted to Allow States to Drug Test the Unemployed

Under a new GOP bill,  people could be drug tested to receive unemployment benefits. The bill passed the Senate by a party-line vote of 51-48 and now heads to the White House for President Donald Trump’s signature.

“The American people are sick and tired of Washington bureaucrats abusing their authority to undercut the will of Congress and the American people… The President’s signature is all that remains to fully repeal this harmful Obama-era regulation and empower our states to help fully qualified workers get back to work,” said Congressman Kevin Brady, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

The Republican governors of Mississippi, Texas, and Wisconsin, the only three states to enact such a law, sent a letter in support of the bill arguing that drug testing people applying for unemployment “can help individuals suffering from substance abuse to access necessary care and treatment so they may re-enter the workforce as healthy and productive members of society.”

Senator Ron Wyden pointed out the contradiction in the combination of this bill and the new Republican health care proposal, which would cut requirements for insurance coverage of drug treatment.

The bill was also opposed by  50 civil rights, faith, and criminal justice organizations including the AFL-CIO, the American Civil Liberties Union, MomsRising, and the NAACP. In their letter to the House, they argued

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