Pearce: Accountability in Unemployment Act

Steve Pearce
Washington, DC (December 9, 2011) Yesterday, Congressman Steve Pearce introduced H.R. 3615, the Accountability in Unemployment Act. His bill will combat abuse of the federal unemployment compensation program and save taxpayers money. The legislation requires recipients of unemployment benefits to pass a drug screen. “For too long, our national government has been subsidizing a cycle of drug dependence and reliance on government funding,” said Pearce. “Many employers require employees to pass a drug test. However, since the government does not enforce this policy to receive taxpayer supported unemployment compensation, Washington is encouraging lives of dependence in those who continue illicit drug use while receiving benefits.
When the government allows individuals the opportunity to take advantage of our unemployment program, which is meant to be a safety net, the government is subsidizing drug use and discouraging Americans from seeking work. Our government cannot afford to continue taxing hard working Americans to pay the way for those in the program who choose to put illegal drug use ahead of working. Washington has allowed exploitation of government programs meant to help those who need it most,” Pearce continued. “Those who are down on their luck or cannot support themselves are the intended recipients of unemployment benefits. The unemployment compensation program was never meant to be a long-term support system; yet, we see cases where people are using it as just that. These are people who choose not to work because they cannot pass a drug screen. The government must stop paying for these illegal and unacceptable actions.” Congressman Pearce has held three job fairs across New Mexico’s Second Congressional District, and even with 8.6 national unemployment, companies are struggling to find workers. Additionally, Congressman Pearce’s office has heard from constituents and businesses who do not want to carry the burden for those abusing the system. Gary Beal, a businessman from Hobbs, New Mexico wrote in a letter to the Hobbs News Sun: “I, like many Americans, am tired of paying the way for those who choose not to work or who choose to do drugs...Through their drug use, they are not only abusing their bodies, homes and communities; they are also abusing the system while abusing me and every other taxpayer.” H.R. 3615 requires that applicants and beneficiaries pay for a drug screen, the cost of which will be reimbursed if the test shows no drug use. It also contains a three-strike policy which allows future or current recipients multiple opportunities to test negative before being unable to receive benefits for five years. The bill has support from constituents and business owners from across New Mexico’s Second Congressional District.



Anonymous said...

Keep it fair, all people, corporations, institutions, organizations and countries recieving U.S.taxpayer money should be drugs tested...including the Federal Reserve, all goverment workers judicial, legilative and executive included. Who ever is left, if anyone, can do the testing as long as they do it for free.

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