According to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll, a whopping 78 percent of Americans favor requiring random drug testing for members of Congress, compared to only 51 percent who said the same of welfare recipients.
In 2012, Republicans pushed for drug testing of people seeking unemployment insurance benefits when they lose their jobs. At the state level, GOP lawmakers across the country have sought drug testing for an array of safety net programs. That year, the House of Representatives passed legislation that would allow states to require food stamp recipients to pee in cups to prove they’re not on drugs.
Democrats have frequently suggested that if drug tests are good for people getting a hand from the government, then they’re good for people running the government, too. Republicans usually don’t go along with that idea but voters heartily approve.
While drug testing for both welfare recipients and lawmakers received support across party lines in the new poll, the congressional proposal was the one more likely to bring Americans together. Eighty-six percent of Republicans, 77 percent of Democrats and 75 percent of independents said they want drug testing for members of Congress.
If a member of Congress is caught using illegal drugs, as Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.) was in late October, Americans expressed little inclination to show mercy. Sixty-six percent said that a member of Congress convicted of possessing a small amount of cocaine should be forced to resign, while only 14 percent favored allowing the convicted member to serve out the remainder of his or her term.