Donald Trump is considering a plan that would require some food-stamp recipients to be drug-tested in order to continue receiving benefits, the Associated Press is reporting.
The proposal would target only a small portion of those participating in the federal program, officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), but colloquially referred to as the “food stamp” program. Specifically, the plan would require drug testing for able-bodied adults with no dependents who are applying for certain jobs. Estimates pin the number of those affected at around 5 percent of participants in the program.
The move is part of a larger Trump administration effort to allow states to make changes to how they administer federal welfare programs, food stamps included. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Trump issued an executive order Tuesday night, privately and with no fanfare, with the intention of imposing “common sense reforms” to SNAP, Medicaid, federal housing programs, and other welfare programs.
The order, named “Reducing Poverty in America by Promoting Opportunity and Economic Mobility,” offers little in the way in specifics. Rather, in general terms, it requires federal agencies to enforce current work requirements, to propose newer and stronger requirements, to find savings (or as Vox writer Tara Golshan puts it, “make cuts”), and to give states more flexibility to run their own welfare programs.
For years, conservative lawmakers at both the federal and state levels have been pushing efforts to have welfare recipients drug-tested. At least 15 states have enacted, or attempted to enact, laws requiring recipients of food stamps or other forms of welfare to be drug tested. Results can most charitably be described as “mixed.”
In Florida, for example, a plan to require welfare recipients to be drug-tested was struck down by a federal court, as Fox News reported in 2013. Similarly, in Wisconsin, Republican Governor Scott Walker attempted to require food stamp recipients to undergo drug testing. The Department of Agriculture, which administers the program, blocked the move. In response, Walker instituted what the Associated Press calls a “workaround,” requiring drug testing for food stamp recipients applying for certain jobs in the state’s Employment and Training Program.
In states where drug testing for welfare recipients has been successfully implemented, the success of such programs, especially when measured against their cost, remains the subject of dispute. According to an April 3 Snopes report, 49 food stamp recipients — out of an estimated 87,000 people on the program — were “flagged” for drug testing. Only 23 people actually wound up taking the test, and only six failed and were removed from the program.