Republicans love to punish the poor for being poor and asking for help. The drug testing on welfare recipients is an absolute insult to the dignity of people on welfare, as well as being utterly ineffective.
That hasn’t stopped the Republicans from jumping all aboard, however. That also hasn’t stopped karma from catching up with some of them, either. In September of 2013, Representative Trey Radel voted for the Republican legislation that allowed states to test recipients for drug use.
That following October, police busted him on a charge of cocaine possession.
The amendment Radel voted for was approved by Representative Richard Hudson (R-NC), and would give states the room to drug test people for receiving public assistance.
After being caught, Radel apologized for his cocaine usage, saying, “I struggle with the disease of alcoholism, and this led to an extremely irresponsible choice.”
It’s only a disease when it affects them, otherwise, it’s a character flaw.
Radel ended up serving a year of probation, which is in and of itself a joke considering the conviction for possession of crack cocaine can lead to a five-year mandatory minimum. In 2014, he resigned from Congress, and handed a resignation letter to Boehner saying that:
It is my belief that professionally I cannot fully and effectively serve as a United States representative to the place I love and call home, southwest Florida.
When voting for an earlier, but similar, bill, Democratic Representative Jim McGovern said something that seemed almost prescient:
In June, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) made that very suggestion when he questioned why recipients of crop insurance and other government benefits weren’t also targeted for drug tests like people on food stamps.
“Why don’t we drug test all the members of Congress here,” McGovern said shortly before the drug-testing measure passed. “Force everybody to go urinate in a cup or see whether or not anybody is on drugs? Maybe that will explain why some of these amendments are coming up or why some of the votes are turning out the way they are.”
That’s still salient today, and will be so long as Republicans continue to wage war against the poor.