Since Trump has been in the White House, he has been moving fast to get some important regulations passed. The latest is to drug test all unemployed Americans who are seeking unemployment benefits. This means that those who are out of work need to keep a clean slate while they look for work and apply for benefits.
Prior to this regulation being passed, drug testing wasn’t enforced on the unemployed unless they were seeking jobs that required testing to be done and this was mandated at the state level. The new resolution was passed by the House in February and approved by the Senate on Tuesday. It will now head to Trump’s office for the final approval. While it will be approved by Trump, the date it goes into effect is unknown at this time.
In the past, when Obama was in office, Republicans thought that too much oversight was given to the government and some things should’ve been decided at the state level. Democrats, on the other hand, argue that the law makes unemployed Americans fall victim of the stereotype that unemployment is associated with drug use. According to some studies, there are mixed results when it comes to the correlation. Some argue that welfare recipients are more likely to use drugs than those who are in the working world, which creates angst among taxpayers who are technically funding their addictions.
“If you’re looking for work, you’re guilty of drug use until proven innocent,” said Senator Ron Wyden.
Initially, the law stated that states could drug test those seeking unemployment benefits if they were applying for jobs in a list of given fields that typically require testing. Some of those jobs included: flight crew members, anyone who carries a firearm and commercial drivers, but in 2016, the law was eligible for repeal according to the Congressional Review Act. Because of this, Congress is allowed to overturn newly implemented federal regulations with only a majority rather than the normal three-fifth required vote. This type of maneuver can only be done when there is a regime change, and in the past, it had only been done once before, when President George W. Bush canceled out a labor-safety regulation that was put into effect while Clinton was in office. Trump is making up for it, as this is the eighth Obama-era regulation that has been canceled out.
The Department of Labor will have an opportunity to write up a new regulation, but they will have to be careful what they write because it has to be much different than the regulation that was nixed, according to the Congressional Review Act.
As of now, several states are on board with the drug testing regulation and are already devising ways in which they can implement the policy.
Currently, all political parties are offering up their different opinions regarding the regulation.
“Yesterday, congressional Republicans continued their attack on the poor by forcing drug testing as a prerequisite or receiving unemployment benefits,” said Rep. Gwen Moore. “As a former recipient of such services, I am appalled by the Republican Party’s discriminatory policies and deeply sown disdain against those battling poverty.”