New payroll tax deal would increase drug screening

84 percent of employers required new hires to pass a drug test. Federal law currently does not allow states to deny benefits for reasons other than misconduct, fraud or disqualifying earnings – so this move is a significant one. I’m glad that it’s in there,” Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) told HuffPost in an interview. Kingston was the first Republican in Congress last year to propose drug testing for those collecting unemployment. “I think that it will be a helpful tool for states.”

Unemployment Levels

The drug screening proposal is part of a larger bill, in which the maximum duration of unemployment insurance would gradually fall from 99 weeks to 73 weeks. While that does seem like quite a drop, if no bill was passed the the longest time people could claim benefits would abruptly drop to 26 weeks at the end of February when federal unemployment programs are set to expire. This could affect nearly 1 million people who have been out of work for six months or longer. The drug screening legislation will no doubt be a welcome addition for many, who are justified in claiming that welfare recipients should not be an exception to the drug screening rules that many employed taxpayers are subjected to. Nonetheless, there will always be critics. Particularly when it comes to such a controversial topic. Critics claim that drug testing welfare recipients is simply not a cost-effective measure and not a valid use of taxpayers dollars – with money saved being only a fraction of that which is spent on the tests. What do you think? Should welfare recipients be drug tested?  ]]>

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