Food stamp recipients may have to undergo drug tests and funding for the public assistance program could face drastic budget cuts if amendments to the House of Representatives’ Farm bill pass, according to the Huffington Post.
The drug testing amendment is one of more than 100 changes proposed for the Farm bill, which would increase crop insurance subsidies, decrease direct payments to farmers and cut $20.5 billion from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps, according to MSNBC. The House will vote on the bill soon.
Liberal and conservative groups alike have said that the bill — despite its intentions to change and improve parts of agriculture in the U.S. — would keep the industry the same.
The bill would cause two million fewer Americans to receive food stamps. Currently the program serves 47 million people and costs about $80 billion.
In recent years, Republicans similarly called for welfare recipients to take drug tests and prove they are not using drugs to receive government aid. Richard Hudson, a Republican from North Carolina, is one of the Republicans spearheading the effort to force Americans to prove their innocence before giving them food or financial support.
Hudson said he views his push for the drug testing measure as a moral obligation, and that drug use needs to be forcefully discouraged by state governments.
In a past case in Florida, drug testing welfare recipients lost the state $45,000 of taxpayer money because the testing costs proved more expensive than the money the tests saved.
But the drug testing amendment, compounded with the rest of amendments proposed by Republican leadership, appears to be directed at downsizing the food stamp program in its entirety and implementing changes that surpass the issue of screening the people who receive food stamps.
Other amendments to the bill would allow states to use money for food stamps in any way they see fit, create a searchable database for all information about food stamp purchases and ban all felons from receiving food stamps.
One amendment proposes the ending of the food stamp program as a whole.