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Orrin Hatch Proposes Requiring Drug Testing for Unemployment Benefits

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Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has proposed an amendment to the jobs bill today that would require Americans seeking unemployment benefits and welfare to pass a drug test.

He said the current social safety net only feeds their addiction to both illegal substances and help from the federal government.

"Too many Americans are locked into a life of a dangerous dependency not only on drugs, but the federal assistance that serves to enable their addiction," the senator said in a statement. "Drugs are a scourge on our society -- hurting children, families and communities alike."

The amendment comes as an attempt to pass the $140 billion jobs bill failed in the Senate. The bill would extend unemployment benefits for millions of Americans, but its price tag has elicited objections from both Republicans and Democrats.

Hatch said his amendment would help save taxpayer money and reduce the national deficit.

"This amendment is a way to help people get off of drugs to become productive and healthy members of society, while ensuring that valuable taxpayer dollars aren't wasted," the senator said today.

Already, some commentators are raising flags. Annie Lowrey at The Washington Independent notes that the liberal-leaning Drug Policy Alliance thinks such a law may be unconstitutional.

"A 2003 ruling by a federal appeals court that covers the states of Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee ruled that states cannot drug test welfare recipients because it's unconstitutional," the organization said in a press release today. The group also argued that the amendment threatens to "undermine anti-poverty efforts" across the country.

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Orrin Hatch is horribly disassociated from the real world. To just come up with such nonsense without any documentation to back it up is just outrageous.

Just because people are down on their luck doesn't mean that they are all drug addicts.

Second, addicts don't need gov funds to feed their addiction. They are addicts. Sitting back and waiting for a fix or the next drink is not how it works. If they can't pay for it themselves they will just knock you in the head and take what you have in order to pay for it.
So even if in some strange 1950's mutation of the real world he was correct

And lastly, the cost and administration nightmare that drug testing across America would cause would make things so much worse and cost a lot more money than he thinks it would save.

If such a bone headed plan was instituted , he would find out that only a small percentage of people would be cut off for failure to pass the drug test but the cost of testing everyone would be astronomical.

Here is where you can tell he is not thinking clearly and without prejudice. You get unemployment because you had a job, and paid into the system.

The hard core addicts that he is talking about..DON"T HAVE JOBS so therefore are not getting unemployment.

Somebody has been in Washington too long.

June 16 2010 at 8:50 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Harold's comment

I meant to say:
"So even if in some strange 1950's mutation of the real world he was correct, all he would be doing is increasing crime". If he really cared about addiction, instead of proposing to spend billions on drug testing, he would propose to spend some money on treatment programs.
Cutting off unemployment for an addict is not treatment. It just makes him hustle harder.

June 16 2010 at 8:57 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

Employers everywhere should applaud and support this idea. I employ 20 people. One of them, I recently let go because of drug use. Because the individual was fired without "adquate warning" that his drug use was unacceptable, he received his full unemployement for eight months. How can this be OK? The man admits to smoking dope in front of his teenaged daughter and 5 year-old son. Now he is doing it funded by your tax dollars. Is this really OK with anyone?

June 16 2010 at 7:25 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to katrinahsemg's comment

So throw out the baby with the bath water because you know ONE guy. Pay for drug testing for everyone in America on unemployment because you know ONE guy.

Do you have any idea what that would cost? Drug testing is expensive and you know the Gov is not going to get a deal, they will be paying full price or have to hire hundreds of thousands of people and technicians to run the tests.

You can't just start up a national drug test in a couple of weeks and expect all to go well.
It would be an expensive disaster, just to deny benefits to a few people.

June 16 2010 at 8:54 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

Will they also require Wall Street et al to be drug tested?

June 16 2010 at 6:55 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Unconstitutional??? Says who?? Barack's "Constituional " lawyers are gonna be busy for the next couple years. The voters will have something to say about THIS in November.

June 16 2010 at 6:34 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

I think this is a fantastic idea. BUT, let's start with giving the Senators drug tests - aren't they living off the tax payers dime also?

June 16 2010 at 6:28 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jestarose's comment

Yup. Couldn't agree more.

June 16 2010 at 6:38 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Karl Hammerle

I would go further and require that anyone who gets money from the government for any reason, directly or indirectly be required to take a drug test when applying and randomly until such time that they no longer receive government funds. Yes, this would include me as I a retired military member.

June 16 2010 at 6:22 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Karl Hammerle's comment

Sounds good to me, Karl. I am on disability. I don't have a problem with such testing for myself...

June 16 2010 at 7:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hatch is absolutely right in his statement that too many people get addicted to welfare and continue to drive their lives into the wall because of it.

That's why this country is going down into shambles as it is - too many people addicted to welfare, expecting the government to provide for them instead of doing the American Dream and making a life for themselves.

Before people freak out - I am all for some assistance when unemployment is unfairly curtailed upon people. But when that benefit gets abused, as is so often the case, these people need to be held accountable for it.

A spot on statement.

June 16 2010 at 4:10 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to davidrdogbow's comment

If welfare ended then why are millions recieving welfare checks every day?

Why has this congress passed staple-on after staple-on of billions and billions to the "stimulus" package for the purpose of unemployment benefits?

Benefits = welfare, it just doesn't have the same name. Careful, politicians do that a lot to make you think something is what it isn't(see health care, cap and trade, stimulus, etc).

Absolutely. If we are going to pay for them and help them out, they best be responsible with our money.

If there's something wrong with requiring them to be fiscally responsible (a concept lost on democrats, I know) then that's pretty sad isn't it?

I said his statement is dead on. And it is. The specifics of him as an individual do not relate to his statement. Maybe he's a hypocrite? Dunno. But his statement is dead on.

June 16 2010 at 6:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oh please. Corp Welfare is far more addictive...

June 16 2010 at 7:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hatch needs to be tested and its not for drugs. Funny how politicians like Hatch propose this crap but he would hand blackwater a million to go do some drugs and run a child sex ring (fact). Hes just another perfect example of the hypocrisy that resides on the right and its sickening. I will give them this though, it would seem that they have the American people hoodwinked and fooled...Little help from fox noise, some spin some hype and walla! The republicans drive the car into the ditch, throw Obama the keys then stand back and scream how he wrecked the car then they wont help get it out of the ditch and want to throw the keys back to them? sad and again, America will suffer greatly. We just dont learn. Hatch is part of the problem not the solution.

June 16 2010 at 3:49 PM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply

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