At many workplaces across the country, employees are required to submit to random drug screenings. And now, one Republican lawmaker wants members of Congress to be mandated to do the same.
Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.) introduced a resolution last week requiring senators and representatives to undergo random drug tests once every term.
“Elected officials in Washington, D.C. should be subject to the same kind of random drug screenings that blue-collar, working-class Americans have to endure,” Higgins said in a statement.
“Congress shouldn’t get to live by a different set of rules,” he said. “This effort is about maintaining accountability and ensuring sober service to We, the People.”
Higgins, a first-term congressman who’s up for re-election this November, joked in a Thursday interview with USA Today Network that his proposal was prompted by things he’s personally witnessed on Capitol Hill.
“I have observed some behavior that would cause one to wonder,” he quipped without elaboration.
Under Higgins’ new bill, which has no cosponsors, members of Congress would have to pay for their own drug screenings and would be reported to the House or Senate Committee on Ethics if they test positive for illicit substances.
If a lawmaker refuses to get tested, their name would be made public.
Higgins, who was endorsed this summer by President Donald Trump, first proposed the idea of testing members of Congress for illegal drugs in a June Facebook video. The lawmaker, who also serves as a reserve deputy marshal for the city of Lafayette, Louisiana, said at the time that he’d just completed a random drug screening for the city’s marshal’s office.
“Based upon some of the behavior I’ve seen, I’d be very interested to know what kind of illegal drugs are flowing through the veins of our elected officials in Washington, D.C.,” Higgins said in the clip.
The executive director of the Louisiana Democratic Party lambasted Higgins’ measure on Twitter last week, calling it a “gimmick.”
“It’s about our body adhering to the same standards almost every other working man and woman is held to on the job. We should be reflective of the people,” he said, according to the Monroe News-Star.
In 1997, the Supreme Court ruled that a Georgia law requiring political candidates to submit to drug testing before their names could appear on a ballot was unconstitutional. As CBS News noted, however, there has not been a similar ruling for federal lawmakers.