The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture chairman has renewed his call to administer drug tests for recipients of food stamp benefits in order to improve the lives of those who test positive for illegal substances.
Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., debuted the measure Thursday and explained that those who failed the tests would be directed to drug rehab programs, which could save taxpayers $1.2 billion annually and ultimately fix problems in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
States would be able to choose whether they wish to participate in the program. But the Department of Agriculture, which oversees the welfare program, has argued Congress cannot impose new standards of eligibility on applicants.
House Speaker Paul Ryan has not weighed in on the legislation, but has previously said he wants to reform the food stamp program. Republicans unsuccessfully tried to cut the program by 5 percent annually in 2013. In the years since, House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway of Texas has led a multi-year review of the SNAP program.
Aderholt said he would consider adding his legislation to the agriculture appropriations bill this year if it fails to pass through Conaway's committee.