Washington, D.C. – Today, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) released the following statement after the United States Department of Labor proposed a new rule for implementing the state option to require drug testing for individuals seeking to receive Unemployment Insurance:
“I applaud this move by President Trump and Secretary Acosta. This is a win for states’ rights and the integrity of the unemployment insurance system to aid workers and job creators across the country. I was proud to have led efforts in Congress to overturn this Obama-era rule that stifled state efforts, and today’s action will help more workers find and keep a job so they too can thrive in this booming economy we are experiencing.”
Background: In 2012, Congress passed the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, bipartisan legislation aimed at helping more individuals get back to work by improving the Unemployment Insurance (UI) system. In the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, Congress repealed a 1960s-era ban on drug screening and testing of Unemployment Insurance applications, allowing states the right to conduct drug testing for those seeking Unemployment Insurance. After being signed into law, the Obama administration issued a heavy-handed rule limiting states’ abilities to implement portions of the law, specifically regarding drug testing for applicants seeking to receive Unemployment Insurance.
In 2017, Chairman Brady led H.R. J. Res. 42, disapproving the rule issued by the Obama administration. Today’s proposal from the Labor Department follows Congress’ intent when passing the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act and will further strengthen the integrity of the UI program, designed for those who are “able, available, and actively seeking work.” The UI program is a federal-state partnership, funded by state and federal taxes on employers.