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Louisiana Congressman Wants to Drug-Test All of Congress

Because that's totally going to fix congressional incompetence.

Splosh/Dreamstime.comSplosh/Dreamstime.com

Rep. Clay Higgins (R–La.) doesn't just want to force every member of Congress to take regular drug tests—he also believes lawmakers should pay for the tests themselves.

Higgins introduced legislation Thursday that would require all federal lawmakers to be randomly tested "once per term" for "illegal use of controlled substances." Members of the House or Senate who test positive would be reported to the House or Senate Ethics Committee, respectively. Lawmakers must "reimburse" Congress "for the cost of the random drug test," the bill says.

The freshman congressman says the law is necessary to ensure that legislators play by the same "rules" as private citizens. "This effort is about maintaining accountability and ensuring sober service to We, the People," Higgins said in a statement.

But it's difficult to take him seriously. After all, this is the same guy who last July recorded a video of himself inside a former gas chamber at the Auschwitz concentration camp. Higgins was roundly criticized at the time, not just by the usual outrage mob but also by the Auschwitz Memorial's Twitter account. Higgins' offense wasn't the worst thing in the world, but it was widely seen as direspectful and just plain dumb, especially considering that a stone engraving near the entrance to the gas chamber asked visitors to remain silent.

Regarding congressional drug tests, Higgins insists he's serious. "This isn't a stunt," he tells the Monroe News Star. "It's not about shaming or embarrassing or ending members' careers. It's about our body adhering to the same standards almost every other working man and woman is held to on the job."

However, random drug-testing is probably not something "almost" all American workers face.

Federal law does require random testing for some industries where drug use would impact safety. And many companies make potential employees pass a drug test before officially bringing them on. Companies in many states, though, must have a good reason to test their current workers. And even if most workers were subject to random drug tests, forcing members of Congress to undergo the same thing doesn't make invading the privacy of private sector workers less awful. Whether or not employees use drugs in their free time has nothing to do with how they do their job, and that goes for elected officials as well.

We all know that Congress is incompetent. But drug use isn't why members can't get things done, or why the things they do accomplish are so awful.

Photo Credit: Splosh/Dreamstime.com

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  • Eddy||

    They're trying to find an excuse for their behavior.

    "I voted for that? I must have been snorting some powerful stuff!"

  • Sevo||

    Good thing Burton isn't there anymore...

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Rep. Clay Higgins (R–La.) doesn't just want to force every member of Congress to take regular drug tests—he also believes lawmakers should pay for the tests themselves.

    Why am I completely, without question, enthusiastically 100% behind this?

  • Rich||

    Right on! Every member of the administration, too. These people who have the power to stop the WoD should furthermore be required to publicly state under oath every mind-altering substance they have ever used.

  • Fancylad||

    I think it's a fantastic idea, personally.
    I wonder how many drug warriors would piss-test positive for coke.

  • Untermensch||

    I would love to see this happen, especially if they are required to pay for the testing themselves. Let them experience the same sort of thing they impose on others at the drop of a hat.

  • Number 2||

    I agree. Remember the old canards about a conservative being a liberal who'd be mugged, and a liberal being a conservative who'd been arrested? Congress has mandated random drug testing for many others. Having lawmakers hoisted on their own petards may teach them a lesson.

    Ironically, when one state (I think it was Georgia) tried to implement random drug testing for elected officials, the courts struck the law down as an invasion of privacy not outweighed by any compelling state interest.

  • ||

    when one state (I think it was Georgia) tried to implement random drug testing for elected officials, the courts struck the law down as an invasion of privacy not outweighed by any compelling state interest.

    lol

  • Don't look at me.||

    " But drug use isn't why members can't get things done, or why the things they do accomplish are so awful."

    We don't yet have the evidence to make this true.

  • DiegoF||

    What the fuck is this shit? Members of Congress are (well-compensated) public employees in charge of making the laws that govern a half billion people, a 20 trillion dollar economy, and by far the most powerful military in human history. Furthermore they have taken it upon themselves to make it a serious crime to use any of the substances they are to be tested for. This suggestion sounds like it shows more moral integrity and character than nearly anything ever proposed for Congress; one might imagine the least they could do is demonstrate they are not themselves using the substances they have decided to ruin so many lives in so many ways over. What on Earth principle does Joe Setyon imagine he is standing up for here? I feel like this place is Looney Tunes here.

  • perlchpr||

    +1, thank you.

  • MasterThief||

    Seyton is quickly establishing himself as the dumbest writer on this site and has possibly even passed Shikha (save for her histrionics.) It's to the point that I immediately assume the opposite position to what he takes is what is proper for libertarianism or for any reasonable person in general.
    From the article itself I don't see any punishment for the congressmen who are sure to fail the drug tests. I see two very positive outcomes from this: lawmakers are forced to ease drug restrictions or hypocritical lawmakers get forced out of office. Either one is fine by me. Fuck their supposed privacy rights. If they are in a compromised mental state while making laws that impact 300m people they are recklessly endangering the nation.
    Maybe I'm an outlier here on the issue because I also don't oppose random drug testing for welfare recipients. It's my opinion that any right to privacy in these situations is trumped by accepting someone else's money and having the power to impact so many lives.

  • DesigNate||

    I mean, its not like companies couldn't randomly drug test their employees even in libertopia, so I don't see why its wrong to ask the same of our public employees.

  • Inigo Montoya||

    Forget drug testing: let's order some IQ tests for politicians!
    I'm willing to bet they are considerably dumber than average.

    Politics is essentially a jobs program for idiots who happen to crave power over others.

  • Anomalous||

    ^THIS^ to the millionth power.

  • Rich||

    Well, perhaps *half* are dumber than average. ;-)

    How about let's order reading comprehension tests when bills are voted on or approved. Fail to demonstrate basic understanding of the legislation you impose on others and be banned from "public service".

  • perlchpr||

    Totally. If you can't pass a simple test covering the bill you just voted on, your vote is discounted, and you get fired.

  • Fancylad||

    I think running them all through the Hare Psychopathy test would be more enlightening.
    Too many people confuse incredibly self-serving behavior, with an inability to comprehend the issue the politician is supposed to be considering.

  • MasterThief||

    I'll suggest that Pelosi, Harris, and Jackson-Lee would all test out as functionally retarded.

  • bevis the lumberjack||

    "However, random drug-testing is probably not something "almost" all American workers face."

    I am a degreed engineer, and worked solely in offices filled with other college-degreed professionals. None of us were operating heavy machinery or doing anything involving public safety.

    I worked for several organizations in that capacity until I retired a couple of years ago, and in every single organization, beginning in roughly the mid-1980s, we were subject to random drug tests with no notice. Perhaps Reason doesn't drug test it's employees (maybe that explains Shikha) but out here in the actual working world drug testing is a common thing.

  • MasterThief||

    The threat of random drug testing is at least common for most employees even if employers don't follow through on that regularly. In my employment contract they are able to drug test at any time and it is standard procedure to have to take a drug test any time an injury occurs on the job or work equipment and vehicles are damaged. While I personally haven't been tested since the hiring process, I'm fully aware that I could be at any time. This has been the case for every job I've ever had including when I worked in food service in high school. He needs to learn reality.

  • gphx||

    As tempting as it may be one should never cheer the loss of anyone's civil liberties.

  • Rich||

    A noble sentiment that that the drug warriors eschew.

  • ||

    A noble sentiment that that the drug warriors eschew.

    Which is what makes them wrong. Don't join them.

  • Duke of url||

    "A noble sentiment that that the drug warriors eschew".

    * As long as steroid use is exempted.

  • ||

    ^ This.

    Today it's the "Evil People," tomorrow it will be you.

  • ||

    Well, okay, in fairness, today it's you, but still.

  • DiegoF||

    What sort of civil liberties exactly are being violated here? Do the U.S. military, agents, and so forth, have the civil right not to be piss tested? Are members of Congress, to take just one example, not privy to the kinds of information that only piss tested employees normally are? Do they not, to take another, have the power to declare war?

    Now there is one way in which these particular Federal employees differ from all others. Namely, that they are there not by passing a screening or exam or anything, but because of a decision by the electorate. Thus, by the principles of the U.S. Constitution and of representative government in general, it would be inappropriate and illegitimate to start imposing all sorts of additional conditions on candidates for office--literacy tests, background checks, financial disclosure, educational qualificaitons, etc. The responsibility to screen applicants for these particular positions belongs to the electorate, and to them alone. It cannot be changed without a Constitutional amendment

    But that is not what is happening here. Instead, Congress is setting rules for themselves and their own behavior while in office. That has been their prerogative and function since the first they they met.

  • Eddy||

    Or, the voters could demand the test results., and elect someone else if they don't want to share.

  • Fancylad||

    Is it un-libertarian to hold people to the standards that they force on others?

  • Cosmo Man||

    Once per term? How about once a month! Add could we add mental acuity tests to the process.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Wake me up when they come up with a medical test to tell whether a lawmaker is under the influence of demented idiology.

  • Jerry B.||

    That's easy. Just look for the (D) behind their name.

  • MasterThief||

    You'll only get about half of them with those methods

  • creech||

    What are the odds that Rep. Higgins would be the first one to fail the test?

  • DiegoF||

    Does it test for moonshine?

  • Michael S. Langston||

    Given government contracts usually come with the stipulation that the company must have random testing, I'm absolutely for this until Congress legalizes.

    But honestly federally elected officials may be a lot ofmthings, but most aren't stupid. And anyone with basic knowledge can figure out how to pass even when they shouldn't be able to, assuming there's zero chance their random tests would include direct visual confirmation and even then, it's not impossible to pass.

    So do I believe some elected officials use illegal substances? Absolutely.

    Do I think the random testing would ever prove that?

    Unlikley.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    Additionally, like Lance Armstrong any positive results would be kept in the strictest of confidence to allow the individual to explain and with their power and connections, getting an after-the-fact explanation seems plausible. And with a bavk dated script or some donor willing to say we smoked in front of him or whatever, they'd never publish the positive results.

    I still think it's a good idea since they force governmental employees and contractors employees to do the same, but if anyone gets caught it'll be because they're politically out of favor and someone their party thinks they can do without. Or maybe incoming frshmen, but I see them as least Lilley to be doing so anyway, but who knows.

    Point is only - positive results damaging anyone of importance is highly unlikely and that's assuming the elected official hasn't taken precautions and actually fails.

  • Robert||

    Also, what's wrong w the gas chamber video? Like somebody who puts up a plaque asking for silence there gets to decide what symbolic use anybody else makes of the place? Even someone who wants to Godwin YouTube?

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