TennesseeÂ State Senator Stacey Campfield‘s bill requiring drug testing — presumably, urine tests — for welfare recipients was just passed in the Senate by a 24-9 margin. Applicants for TANF — Temporary Assistance For Needy Families — may have to be drug-tested first if they might be drug users, now or in the future. It’s unclear who would make that determination, or what the basis for that determination might be…
It’s unknown when the Tennessee House will vote on the bill, or if the Governor will sign it.
It seems Campfield, best-known as the sponsor of Tennessee’s infamous “Don’t Say Gay” bill, might fail a reading test just as quickly as he might fail a math test, because Campfield apparently either couldn’t or couldn’t be bothered to read last week’s New York Times article, “No Savings Are Found From Welfare Drug Tests“:
Ushered in amid promises that it would save taxpayers money and deter drug users, a Florida law requiring drug tests for people who seek welfare benefits resulted in no direct savings, snared few drug users and had no effect on the number of applications, according to recently released state data.
â€œMany states are considering following Floridaâ€™s example, and the new data from the state shows they shouldnâ€™t,â€ said Derek Newton, communications director for theÂ American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, which sued the state last year to stop the testing and recently obtained the documents. â€œNot only is it unconstitutional and an invasion of privacy, but it doesnâ€™t save money, as was proposed.â€
This week, Georgia instituted a nearly identical law, with supporters saying it would foster greater personal responsibility and save money. As in Florida, the law is expected to draw a legal challenge. TheÂ Southern Center for Human Rights, based in Atlanta, said it expected to file a lawsuit once the law takes effect in the next several months. A number of other states are considering similar bills.
The Florida civil liberties group sued the state last year, arguing that the law constituted an â€œunreasonable searchâ€ by the government, a violation of the Fourth Amendment. In issuing aÂ temporary injunctionÂ in October, Judge Mary S. Scriven of Federal District Court scolded lawmakers and said the law â€œappears likely to be deemed a constitutional infringement.â€
From July through October in Florida â€” the four months when testing took place before Judge Scrivenâ€™s order â€” 2.6 percent of the stateâ€™s cash assistance applicants failed the drug test, or 108 of 4,086, according to the figures from the state obtained by the group. The most common reason wasÂ marijuanaÂ use. An additional 40 people canceled the tests without taking them.
Because the Florida law requires that applicants who pass the test be reimbursed for the cost, an average of $30, the cost to the state was $118,140. This is more than would have been paid out in benefits to the people who failed the test, Mr. Newton said.
As a result, the testing cost the government an extra $45,780, he said.
And the testing did not have the effect some predicted. An internal document about Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, caseloads stated that the drug testing policy, at least from July through September, did not lead to fewer cases.
What the Times article neglected to mention is that Florida Governor Rick Scott is a co-founder of — and he or his family likely have a financial interest in — the company hired to do the drug testing. Nifty, huh?
But, we digress.
Back to Tennessee State Senator Stacey “Don’t Say Gay“Â Campfield’s drug bill.
“If the bills are passed it would mean welfare recipients would have to go through a screening process before being approved for benefits,” a report yesterday in the Examiner states. “If it appears as though an applicant has used drugs in the past or that they would use drugs in the future, then they would have to submit to a drug test before being approved.”
Think about that. Republicans go nuts when they hear the term “hate crime.” They hate the very idea of hate crime legislation so much one lawmaker attempted to get the name of the Matthew Shephard Hate Crimes Bill changed to theÂ Matthew Shephard Thought Crimes Bill.
Yet Campfield thinks he can determine which welfare applicants might use drugs, now or in the future?
Sounds a little like Campfield would want to, say, give a kid a maturity test before entering kindergarten.
Then there’s this from a local Nashville news channel:
One local man has issued a challenge to lawmakers : take the same drug test they are proposing making welfare families submit to.
Alex Friedman spent the day Monday on Capitol Hill challenging every State Senator and every State Representative to take the same test that Tennessee residents applying for welfare might be asked to take.
Back to Tennessee State Senator Stacey “Don’t Say Gay” Campfield, whose math skills are as dull as his reading skills.
Campfield, you’ll remember, isÂ the lawmaker who was kicked out of a local Knoxville, Tennessee restaurant in response to his commentsÂ about how HIV/AIDS originated from a gay guy â€œscrewing a monkey.”
Campfield actually had gone on the Michelangelo Signorile radio show and did math in his head and concluded, falsely, that it isÂ â€œvirtually impossibleâ€ to contract HIV via heterosexual sex.
Which is the other reason he got kicked out of that Knoxville restaurant.
Now, if only we could come up with a test that would get him kicked out of the Tennessee Â Senate.
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‘Total Breakdown’: House Sends Members Home – Experts Warn ‘Republicans Can’t Govern’ And Have No ‘Working Majority’
Nine days before an increasingly-likely shutdown of the federal government of the United States, Speaker Kevin McCarthy has effectively adjourned the House for the rest of the week, with GOP leadership telling members they may go home and come back next week, after a procedural vote to fund the Dept. of Defense failed for the second time this week.
Fox News’ Chad Pergram reports, “Note that the House has not officially dismissed everyone.. but everyone expects they are done for the week. Why? They House lacks the VOTES TO ADJOURN.”
He later added that “Things are very fluid,” and “there could be votes TOMORROW or this weekend still in the house. This could be a problem if some members already got on flights.”
Fox News online is reporting, “House abruptly cancels votes for the week without spending deal after series of defeats for GOP leaders,” and notes members are not expected back until Tuesday.
McCarthy this week has repeatedly denigrated and attacked the extremist members of the House Republican conference on camera to reporters, and Thursday was no different, saying, “This is a whole new concept of individuals that just want to burn the whole place down.”
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) blasted House Republicans upon hearing the House was about to adjourn for the week.
“What you need to understand is that chaos is the point for a big chunk of House Republicans. They came to congress to BURN THE GOVERNMENT TO THE GROUND,” the Connecticut Democrat wrote. “Their goal is a shutdown.”
The sentiment is being echoed by political experts, but many of those are placing the blame on Speaker McCarthy.
Democratic strategist Sawyer Hackett, senior advisor to former Obama Cabinet secretary Julián Castro Thursday afternoon wrote: “Reminder: Kevin McCarthy could put a clean bill to fund the government on the floor right now and it would pass easily. Instead, he’s sending members home for the weekend with 9 days until a shutdown—all because he’s afraid he’ll lose his job.”
Evidence that the far-right extremist House Republicans, led by U.S. Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) are effectively in control comes via Punchbowl News co-founder Jake Sherman:
At 1:13 PM ET Sherman posted that Rep. Gaetz had “just emerged from” Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s suite. “Gaetz said that he’s advocating for pausing consideration of the Pentagon spending bill and moving to bills that cut spending. He mentioned: State-Foreign Ops, Agriculture, Energy and Water.”
Sherman noted that Gaetz “said again there are not enough votes” for a continuing resolution, legislation to keep the government open temporarily, possibly 30 days past the September 30 deadline.
“Just to review, the plan right now is to begin passing 11 appropriations bills with relatively open rules allowing for amendments between next tues (possibly wed) and Sunday.”
At 2:40 PM, Sherman added, “This is now the strategy. They’re going to bring up individual approps [appropriations] bills next week, per lawmakers who just met with @SpeakerMcCarthy.”
Others were less pleased.
Veteran foreign policy journalist Laura Rozen wrote: “truly insane. Mccarthy surrendered to Gaetz.”
Even before McCarthy adjourned the House for the rest of the week, political experts had warned the volatile situation was worse than it may have appeared.
Sherman, late Thursday morning, issued this warning on social media after the failed Defense Dept. vote: “Just to put this in context, republicans cannot even agree to debate the pentagon spending bill. This bill usually passes by big margins. It failed twice this week. Kevin mccarthys House Republicans are in a state of crisis.”
Josh Chafetz, Georgetown Law professor of law and politics, responded to Thursday’s failed Defense Dept. procedural vote, writing: “if you can’t pass the procedural stuff you don’t have a working majority.”
Aaron Fritschner, the Deputy Chief of Staff to U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) is calling the state of the GOP House a “total breakdown.”
“I started working in the House nearly 11 years ago, I’ve seen some crazy days and some chaotic votes but never seen anything like what is happening with this majority. Just a total breakdown,” he wrote Thursday morning.
Professor and American historian Aaron Astor on Thursday asked, “Does the GOP actually have a working majority in the House?”
Veteran journalist John Harwood quickly replied, “clearly not.”
‘Just Want to Burn the Whole Place Down’: McCarthy Rails Against House Republicans as GOP Conference Explodes in Chaos
Speaker Kevin McCarthy unleashed his anger against his own House Republican conference Thursday as chaos erupted after yet another procedural vote on a defense spending bill failed and the clock ticks closer to a GOP-caused shutdown of the federal government.
McCarthy “failed a crucial test Thursday of his ability to unite his fractured Republican caucus as he tries to rally support to pass a spending bill aimed at avoiding a government shutdown at the end of the month,” CNBC adds.
“It’s frustrating in the sense that I don’t understand why anybody votes against bringing the idea and having the debate, and then you got all the amendments and if you don’t like the bill,” McCarthy admitted to reporters in what has increasingly become opportunities for him to trash the most far-right Republicans in the House.
“This is a whole new concept of individuals that just want to burn the whole place down,” he lamented. “It doesn’t work.”
“This is a whole new concept of individuals that just want to burn the whole place down.”
— After House Republicans once again failed to pass a basic procedural rule to fund the Pentagon, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) hits some members of his own conference pic.twitter.com/Qt4AR71jP3
— The Recount (@therecount) September 21, 2023
“This is really unheard of,” CNBC’s Emily Wilkins reported. “I mean just a rule going down as a procedural thing, that’s pretty rare as is, and for it to happen twice in one week. Last night Republicans came ut of their all hands on deck Republican meeting. A number of them sounded optimistic about moving forward.”
Thursday failed procedural vote “really did catch Speaker McCarthy by surprise,” Wilkins added.
“He said he did not realize there were not going to be the votes to move forward on this.”
The House failed to pass a procedural rules vote today, @emrwilkins
reports. “This is a whole new concept of individuals that just want to burn the whole place down,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said. “That doesn’t work.” https://t.co/1xf6Y33riV pic.twitter.com/kK31lrHOyr
— CNBC (@CNBC) September 21, 2023
Watch the videos above or at this link.
Pete Buttigieg Just Testified Before Congress. It Did Not Go Well for Republicans.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg testified before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Wednesday, where he was forced to educate Republicans on a wide variety of topics, from climate change to not needing passports to fly domestically, to subsidies for oil and gas companies.
In one heated back-and-forth, U.S. Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), who has been fighting a subpoena from Special Counsel Jack Smith, blamed Secretary Buttigieg specifically for “killing” the auto industry by supporting electric vehicles.
“I don’t know if you can justify or how you justify forcing my constituents to pay for EVs [electric vehicles] and EV infrastructure for coastal elites and wealthy people, but somehow you do,” Rep. Perry told Secretary Buttigieg.
“Well, I need to point out that wealthy people were specifically excluded from the Inflation Reduction Act,” Buttigieg replied.
“Well,” Perry replied. “Do you dispute that two-thirds of EV owners, are owned by people over 100,000, that make over 100,000?”
Buttigieg explained that the first electric vehicles were expensive, but “that number is going down.” Perry yelled it “doesn’t matter” that the prices of the electric vehicles are going down, his constituents “can’t afford them today,” which led Buttigieg to ask why he is opposed to “cutting their costs?”
“I’m not against cutting the cost. The market should do it,” Perry replied. “But you want the government, you want my taxpayers to pay to cut the cost.”
Buttigieg then asked about subsidies for the oil and gas companies, which cost the American taxpayer billions of dollars annually.
“If you are of the view that there should be no subsidy to propulsion vehicles, then are you against oil and gas subsidies?” Buttigieg asked.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg schools U.S. Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) on electric vehicles and the auto industry.
BUTTIGIEG: “If you are of the view that there should be no subsidy to propulsion vehicles, then are you against oil and gas subsidies?” pic.twitter.com/WmqkCroj5C
— Heartland Signal (@HeartlandSignal) September 20, 2023
During another back-and forth, Buttigieg quelled a Republican Congressman asking him questions as he educated him on electric vehicles and why they are important.
“Nobody wants these electric vehicles unless you’re an elite that can afford them – people in may district sure as hell don’t want them.”
“We’re doing this for three reasons, even though the EV revolution’s going to happen anyway,” Buttigieg told U.S. Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA).
“Oh, it’s a ‘revolution’ –” the Congressman interjected, before Buttigieg cut him off.
“I would love to answer your question, Congressman.”
Moments later, when Buttigieg said “climate change is real,” LaMalfa shot back, “This one’s called Autumn.”
Buttigieg made him repeat it before explaining, “yeah, that’s the seasons changing which respectfully is not the same as the climate changing.”
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg: “What I can tell you is that climate change is real…”
Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA): “Yeah, this one’s called autumn.”
Buttigieg: “That’s the seasons changing, which, respectably, is not the same thing as the climate changing.” pic.twitter.com/HNN4NcUIa0
— The Recount (@therecount) September 20, 2023
And when U.S. Rep. Eric Burlison (R-MO) appeared to be unprepared with facts and figures, Buttigieg was happy to provide them for him, upending his inquiry into the Transportation Secretary’s “private” flights.
“I knew this might come up, so I brought some numbers,” Secretary Buttigieg told Rep. Burlison. “Since getting the job, I have taken—these are estimates, give or take a couple—but I’ve taken 638 flights.”
“607 of them were commercial, 10 of them were on military aircraft such as Air Force One, and 21 were on FAA aircraft—representing about 3 percent of the flights.”
“I appreciate the chance to discuss this because I can’t help get the sense that some people want to make it sound as if I don’t travel most of the time on commercial aircraft, which of course is untrue,” Buttigieg added.
“Mr. Secretary,” Burlison continued, “I think I think the irony for most people in my district is that they’re being told that they’re going to have to convert to electric vehicles to reduce their carbon footprint. And yet, not everyone gets to travel the way that you do.”
“Just once again,” Buttigieg replied, reinforcing what he had said, “the way I usually travel is an economy class aboard an airliner like everybody else, when we do it differently, it’s often because it will save taxpayer money.”
“I’m so glad you asked this,” Buttigieg concluded, saying he was “excited to share” this information.
Oh my god a GOP member of congress actually brought up the bogus “private flights” story to Buttigieg’s face. Immediate regret. pic.twitter.com/8gvPt01a6C
— chyea ok (@chyeaok) September 20, 2023
Watch the videos above or at this link.
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