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New Poll Shows Americans Want Congress to be Drug Tested

But lawmakers blanch at the idea of random drug testing for themselves even though they want welfare and unemployment recipients to pee in a cup.

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Pee for thee, but not for me. Photo via

By Shawn Dwyer

12/04/13

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According to a recent HuffPost/YouGov poll, over three-quarters of Americans like the idea of lawmakers peeing in a cup and submitting to random drug testing. Only seven percent oppose. Of the 78 percent who want members of Congress to be tested for drugs, sixty-two percent said they “strongly” favor such a measure. The same poll also found a strong majority favoring drug testing for welfare and unemployment recipients, 64 in favor and 18 percent opposed.

But lawmakers, particularly Republicans, aren’t exactly accepting of the idea of random drug testing for themselves even though they have passed laws on the state and federal level requiring the same for welfare, unemployment, and food stamp recipients. In April 2013, Republican Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas signed into law a bill that required such testing, calling drug addiction a “scourge in Kansas.” The bill sailed through the legislature before landing on Brownback’s desk for a signature.  “This is a horrific thing that hits so many people,” he said. “What this effort is about is an attempt to get ahead of it and, instead of ignoring the problem, start treating the problem.” Earlier this year, the House of Representatives passed legislation to drug test food stamp recipients, while last year Congressional Republicans pushed testing for people on unemployment.

In light of the recent news about Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.) getting busted for buying cocaine, it’s not surprising talk has turned to drug testing Congress, especially when peeing in a cup is rapidly becoming commonplace for the rest of us. Turns out that House Rule 635, adopted in 1997, does allow for the random drug testing of its members. The rule says in part, “The Speaker, in consultation with the Minority Leader, shall develop through an appropriate entity of the House a system for drug testing in the House. The system may provide for the testing of a Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee of the House.” To date, there has been no confirmation of any House member being tested under the rule.

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