President Trump signs law nullifying Obama administration drug testing rule for unemployment insurance

President Donald Trump signed into law legislation sponsored by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) to disapprove and nullify a drug-testing rule issued by the U.S. Department of Labor in the final months of the Obama administration. The rule previously limited states’ congressionally intended discretion in implementing their unemployment compensation and unemployment insurance programs. The bill was originally introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Ways and Means Chairman Brady, and sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Cruz.

“Under the previous administration, the Department of Labor undermined the ability of states to conduct drug testing in their programs as permitted by Congress,” Sen. Cruz said. “This rule was yet another example of executive overreach by the Obama administration, and I commend President Trump for signing this resolution into law.”


“President Trump just signed into law my bill that abolishes an Obama-era rule,” Rep. Brady said. “After 5 years of battling with the Obama Department of Labor, states like Texas will now be allowed to drug test folks on unemployment to ensure they are job ready from day one. This is a win for families, workers, job creators, and local economies.”

In the bipartisan Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, Congress permitted, but did not require, states to assess state unemployment compensation or insurance program applicants for drug usage under two circumstances: (1) workers who had been discharged from their last job because of unlawful drug use and (2) workers looking for jobs in occupations where applicants and employees are subject to drug testing. This resolution of disapproval will once again provide states the ability to determine how to best implement these programs for their citizens.

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