Rep. Henry “Trey” Radel (R-Fla.), who pleaded guilty on Wednesday to misdemeanor possession of cocaine, previously voted to drug test food stamp recipients.
The freshman congressman was sentenced to a year’s probation while he undergoes drug treatment in Florida.
Radel voted in favor of an amendment proposed by Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) last summer to make drug testing part of the food stamp program.
“This is a clear and obvious problem in our communities as nearly 30 states have introduced legislation to drug test for welfare programs,” Hudson said. “We have a moral obligation to equip the states with the tools they need to discourage the use of illegal drugs.”
Rep. Jim McGovern (R-Mass.) pointed out that recipients of other government benefits like crop insurance are drug tested, according to the Huffington Post.
“Why don’t we drug test all the members of Congress here,” McGovern said shortly before the drug-testing measure passed. “Force everybody to go urinate in a cup or see whether or not anybody is on drugs? Maybe that will explain why some of these amendments are coming up or why some of the votes are turning out the way they are.”
“It’s really interesting it came on the heels of Republicans voting on everyone who had access to food stamps get drug tested,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told BuzzFeed Tuesday. “It’s like, what?”
“The fact is, there are certain things, especially in Congress, where we hold ourselves to a higher standard,” Pelosi added.
“I struggle with the disease of alcoholism, and this led to an extremely irresponsible choice,” Radel said Tuesday.
He admitted to a District of Columbia Superior Court Wednesday that he purchased 3.5 grams of cocaine from an undercover agent in October.
“I’ve hit a bottom where I realize I need help,” Radel told the court.