The Trump administration plans to roll back Obama’s relaxation of the drug testing rules for unemployment. One of the rules for people collecting unemployment is that they be physically able to work so that if they are offered a job, they can take it. The new rules will say who needs to be drug tested to remain eligible.
I take that to mean that if you are a truck driver or a machine operator, you can be tested for drugs but not if you push a broom. That’s a plan that uses common sense. Nobody wants to be on the road with someone hopped up on drugs.
After President Trump signed the CRA repealing the Obama-era regulation, House Ways and Means chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) said:
President Trump just signed into law my bill that abolishes an Obama-era rule. After five years of battling with the Obama Department of Labor, states like Texas will now be allowed to drug test folks on unemployment to ensure they are job-ready from day one. This is a win for families, workers, job creators, and local economies.
In 2016, Republicans argued that the Obama proposed rules rolled back who could be tested and was limited to airline pilots, flight crews, air traffic controllers, commercial and public transit drivers, as well as any job that requires Americans to regularly carry a firearm.
The new rules to be proposed by the Trump administration will be more expansive and will include all jobs where a person who is impaired could hurt themselves or others. The new rule will cover people who are not currently seeking work in an industry that conducts regular drug testing.
Strategic Services on Unemployment and Workers’ Compensation President Doug Holmes explains why the new rule is needed:
An individual has to be available and able to work. If they’re not available and able to work, week by week by week, then they don’t meet the requirements to be paid unemployment compensation benefits. If an individual has a significant problem that renders him or her unavailable to work, the appropriate response is to refer them to a place to get help. They should not be paid unemployment benefits.
There is still a lot of work to do on the proposal and it will not be rolled out until June at the soonest. Once in place, states will be able to drug test new applicants who fall under the new guidelines.