Vitter Introduces Welfare Drug Test Bill
U.S. Sen. David Vitter yesterday introduced the Drug Free Families Act, which would require that welfare recipients undergo drug testing to determine their eligibility to receive, or continue to receive, benefits. Vitter's bill would require that states forfeit Temporary Assistance to Needy Families funding unless they implement a drug testing and treatment program for TANF recipients.
"Although the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 included several, broad welfare reforms, the final version of the bill did not include a drug testing provision for welfare recipients," said Vitter. "My bill would remedy that oversight."
The bill requires each state to develop their own testing programs to match the needs of their own state-developed welfare system, and the Secretary of Labor would approve each plan before the release of welfare funds.
"Drug abuse holds people back and causes extreme negative consequences," Vitter said. "The idea that we have no system in place to determine if welfare recipients are abusing drugs is counterproductive to the purpose and goals of TANF. These benefits are awarded to help individuals get back on their feet, and this drug testing program will allow state officials identify people who are in need of treatment to help them achieve this goal."
Vitter's bill requires that treatment be made available to any individual who tests positive for drug use. The drug treatment program must be completed and the individual must undergo additional testing before being once again eligible to receive benefits.