Should SNAP Recipients be Subject to Drug Testing?

The House of Representatives recently voted to give each state the authority to conduct drug tests on anyone applying for food stamps under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). There has been a big divide between the Republicans and Democrats on this subject. Republicans believe that this will ensure that SNAP benefits go to those who actually need it, while Democrats say that this implies that people who are on food stamps use drugs.

By voice vote, the members of the House approved the idea as an amendment to the farm bill. The amendment was proposed by Republican Representative Richard Hudson from North Carolina. Rep. Hudson said that, “If adopted, this amendment would join a list of good-government reforms contained in the farm bill to save taxpayer money and ensure integrity and accountability within our nutrition system.” The amendment will force people who apply for SNAP to take a drug test and if they fail they will not be allowed to receive the benefits.

Democrats do not agree with the amendment proposal, saying that just by proposing it the Republicans are implying that people on food stamps use drugs. Democratic Representative Gwen Moore for Wisconsin said that studies have shown people using SNAP are no more likely than nonusers to be using drugs. She believes that the GOP proposal is meant to humiliate people using food stamps, saying “It costs a lot of public money just to humiliate people. It’ll cost $75 for one of these drug tests, and for what purpose? Just to criminalize and humiliate poor people.”

While the two sides seem to be far apart on this issue, the amendment passed on a voice vote, with no Democrat asking for a recorded vote. The Republicans are hoping that this amendment will make sure that the right people are receiving SNAP benefits and in turn the national debt can be decreased.