Monday, March 4, 2013

Welfare Drug Testing Bill Introduced In Congress

To fight the specter of poor people spending taxpayer money on drugs, a Republican congressman has reintroduced legislation to make welfare applicants pee in cups to prove they're clean. 

Rep. Stephen Fincher's (R-Tenn.) bill would require states to randomly test 20 percent of people receiving benefits from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, which spends roughly $16 billion per year supporting poverty-stricken parents with monthly checks averaging $392.

"Currently the federal government enables drug abusers a safety-net by allowing them to participate in the TANF program," Fincher said in a statement. "Instead of having to make the hard-choice between drugs and other essential needs, abusers are able to rely on their monthly check to help them pay their bills."

In Congress and in state legislatures across the country, Republicans have sought to implement welfare drug testing programs in recent years. Few measures have become law, as testing can be expensive and there's not much data reflecting a widespread drug problem among welfare recipients. Civil liberties advocates successfully sued to halt the most sweeping drug screening law, implemented in Florida in 2011.
So despite evidence to the contrary, Republicans think that if you are poor, you are probably on drugs as well. This has the added affect of increasing government spending with nothing to show for it in terms of results. So much for fiscal conservatism.

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