A new proposal under review may give states the right to drug test certain individuals who are receiving food stamps, The Hill reported.

This long-awaited conservative push is targeted at those who are applying for specialized jobs, without dependents and are able-bodied, according to an anonymous administration official.

This change administered by the Trump administration would likely affect about five percent of individuals in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

It is currently against federal law for states to have their own limitations for food assistance eligibility. This plan would give states more freedom to implement conditions for federal welfare programs.

Agriculture Department officials were waiting for White House approval on the timing of a possible drug test announcement, according to emails obtained by The Associated Press.

“I think we just have to be ready because my guess is we may get an hour’s notice instead of a day’s notice,” wrote associate administrator of SNAP, Jessica Shahin.

In 2015, Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker sued the USDA for not allowing the state to drug test adults applying for federal food assistance.

Former USDA Food and Nutrition Service Undersecretary Kevin Concannon, who served in the position under the Obama administration from 2009 until the beginning of last year, said they “turned that down” because it was “costly and cumbersome.”

“As a former governor, I know first-hand how important it is for states to be given flexibility to achieve the desired goal of self-sufficiency for people,” Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said. “We want to provide the nutrition people need, but we also want to help them transition from government programs, back to work, and into lives of independence.”

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BY Kate Clark


Kate is a staff writer for DC Statesman.