Friday, U.S. Representative Stephen Fincher (R-Frog Jump) introduced the Welfare Integrity Act of 2013, requiring random drug testing for illegal substances for welfare applicants and recipients.
The bill requires each state participating in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program to certify that applicants and current recipients are being randomly test for illegal drug use. In order to pass constitutional muster, the bill requires states to provide a consent and waiver form, where applicants are given the choice to waive their Fourth Amendment Rights and submit to a random drug test. If welfare beneficiaries fail a drug test or are arrested on a drug related offense, they will be unable to receive the benefit and cannot reapply for one year. Further, the legislation requires states that receive funding from the TANF program to certify that there is a program in place to test 20% of applicants and recipients for illegal drugs. States that do not comply would forfeit 10% of their TANF funding.
"Currently the federal government enables drug abusers a safety-net by allowing them to participate in the TANF program. 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.
"If Washington wants to help families move toward economic stability, we must do our very best to end the cycle of drug abuse. By allowing random drug checks, we can ensure families who receive TANF benefits use them for their intended purpose of feeding, clothing and providing shelter for their children, while cutting the tie that enables drug abuse. It's not unreasonable to ask folks to stay clean in order to receive federal assistance."