Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Says Drug Testing Food Stamp Recipients Is 'Progressive'

By McCarton Ackerman 09/17/15

There's a reason he's fallen to ninth place for the Republican nomination.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker
Abort, Retry, Fail? Photo via

Wisconsin Governor and food stamp drug testing-obsessed individual Scott Walker continues to put his foot in his mouth on the subject. Rather than viewing this method as punitive or promoting stereotypes, Walker spoke out this week and said that, somehow, the practice is “progressive."

Speaking with Huffington Post during a campaign stop in Iowa, Walker explained that “we're trying to help people who are in need of our assistance to get jobs. The best thing we can do with them is to make sure they get the skills and education they need, and make sure they are drug free if they have an addiction, to get back in the workforce."

"For us, it's not a punitive thing, it's a progressive thing," he said.

But when a reporter for Huffington Post pressed him and asked if he had evidence of rampant drug abuse among food stamp recipients, Walker said his evidence was employers telling him “we need people who have basic employability skills and can pass a drug test.” However, he could not name any of these specific employers.

Last month, Walker sued the federal government for the right to drug test Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients, as well as those receiving unemployment benefits, if there is a “reasonable” suspicion of drug use.

However, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said, “Requiring SNAP applicants and recipients to pass a drug test in order to receive benefits would constitute an additional condition of eligibility, and therefore, is not allowable under law. Gov. Walker hasn’t read the law. It’s always a good idea before you start litigation to understand what the law is.”

It’s also highly unlikely he will be able to make his goal of food stamp drug testing at the national level a reality. Walker has tumbled to ninth place in the race for the Republican nomination, garnering just 3% support in the latest poll averages. He led the field with 18% last July.

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix

McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.