WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Scott DesJarlais, M.D., voted to repeal a lame-duck Obama Administration rule limiting states’ ability to drug-test unemployment insurance recipients on Wednesday. He said the Department of Labor rule undermines Congress’ intent for federal unemployment assistance, to ensure those re-entering the workforce are “truly able and available for work.”
“Tennessee should have the authority to administer its unemployment insurance program to benefit the local job market, including those struggling to find work, perhaps because of drug abuse,” said Rep DesJarlais, a member of the GOP Doctors Caucus. “By giving power back to the states, we’re aiming to reduce addiction and to help more people be productive again.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a 43% increase in opioid-related overdose deaths in Tennessee in 2015. Across the country, more than 52,000 people died from drug overdoses that year, and workforce participation remains at a historic low.
“There is a serious nationwide drug epidemic,” said the Congressman, “and the federal government must not subsidize addiction. The unemployment system’s first priority should be getting able-bodied adults back to work.”
Specifically, he voted for a Resolution of Disapproval under the Congressional Review Act today. The legislative tool expedites cancellation of federal regulations, bypassing a filibuster in the U.S. Senate. To grow the economy and jobs, the House of Representatives has passed a number of such Resolutions in the first days of the 115th Congress.
President Donald Trump signed one into law this week, canceling a new SEC rule that created new hurdles for American companies abroad. Previously, Rep. DesJarlais (TN-04) has voted for legislation allowing states to drug test food stamp recipients and to deny welfare benefits to lottery winners.