The Trump-run Labor Department wants to pass a rule to encourage states to drug test everyone who applies for unemployment benefits.
According to the ACLU, “This month, the Department of Labor finished soliciting feedback on a proposed federal rule, which the ACLU opposed, that would encourage states to conduct blanket drug testing for those seeking unemployment insurance. Never mind that current law already denies unemployment benefits to people terminated for drug use. And don’t worry that such blanket drug testing is probably unconstitutional.”
The summary of the proposed rule states, “This Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) sets forth the Department of Labor’s proposal to permit States to drug test unemployment compensation (UC) applicants, including a proposed list of occupations which the Department of Labor (“Department” or “DOL”) has determined regularly conduct drug testing.”
Besides the fact that the drug testing will likely be ruled unconstitutional, there is a motive behind what the Trump administration is proposing.
Republicans love mandatory drug testing for benefits, not because it weeds out drug users, but because it creates another hurdle to applying for benefits.
The motive is to make applying for anything as difficult and embarrassing as possible.
The Trump administration wants to treat people who lost their jobs like criminals so that they will be discouraged from seeking unemployment benefits. There is a special level of cruelty to this proposed rule because it plays upon the shame that people feel when they lose their jobs.
It is possible that you might find more drug users working in the Trump administration than you would find in any random pool of people who are applying for unemployment benefits. When states tested people seeking food assistance only 369 applicants out of a quarter million tested positive, so it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that there could be a higher percentage of drug users in the administration than the unemployed.
If Trump wants to drug test the unemployed, he should show his commitment to the cause by testing his own administration first.
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