Pocan, Moore Question Walker’s Plan To Drug Test People Who Get Public Assistance

Democratic Congressional Representatives Say They Worry Plan Will Be Costly

Reps. Gwen Moore, left, and Mark Pocan. Photos: Milwaukee VA/Wispolitics.

Two Democrats in Congress are asking Gov. Scott Walker for details on his plan to require drug testing of working age recipients of public assistance.

Reps. Mark Pocan and Gwen Moore have sent Walker a letter about the campaign promise unveiled a few weeks ago to have the state drug test people benefitting from food or unemployment assistance. Moore said Walker’s plan raises constitutional concerns and could be costly.

“This 1 or 2 percent of households that may have someone who uses drugs or prohibited substances — the cost of identifying that person would not only be a cost to the state government, but it’s a cost to the whole family,” said Moore.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Moore said it seems Walker would try to deny benefits to other people in the same household where one person is using illegal drugs.

Walker said the state wants to help people with drug problems and see them get jobs. He said that would eventually save the state money.

“We think as we help ensure people are able to get in the workforce, they’ll be less dependent on government assistance and they’ll be prospering themselves as productive members of the workforce,” he said.

Democratic candidate for governor Mary Burke also urged the governor to give more details of his drug testing plan, saying the cost is just one of the components that need to be judged.