Republicans in Congress are looking to crack down on anyone using drugs who seeks to collect unemployment.
The Hill reports that the House passed a resolution to repeal a rule put in place under the Obama administration that limits who can be forced to take a drug test in order to receive unemployment benefits.
The labor regulation, which was implemented in August, requires that states only drug-test those applying for benefits if they are suitable for jobs that require regular drug testing — typically jobs involving transportation or weapons. The vote was 236-189, with four Democrats breaking ranks to support the resolution and one Republican opposing it.
The Trump White House has supported the repeal, saying that the defined list of jobs was too narrow and that states should have more control over their own unemployment system.
Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Texas, told The Hill that the rule protects basic constitutional rights for those seeking unemployment assistance: “Suspicion-less drug testing of government benefit recipients likely violates the Fourth Amendment, and it is cruel and inhumane treatment of individuals.”
US News reports that a related bill, the Ready for Work Act, would allow states to decide on their own who would and would not be drug tested before receiving benefits. Three states — Mississippi, Texas and Washington — currently have laws calling for drug testing of applicants.
“In some sense you have been taxed for the benefits, so it’s a little like giving drug tests to people whose houses burned down if they want to collect on their fire insurance,” Gary Burtless, an economist at the Brookings Institute, told US News. Unemployment benefits are funded through taxes paid by employers.
It’s not known if or when the Senate may take up the joint resolution.