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Congressional Review Act resolution to block rule establishing appropriate occupations for drug testing: H.J. Res. 42/S.J. Res. 23

Description: The resolution blocks the Obama-era rule establishing rules for drug testing applicants for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. The rule is the result of a 2012 bipartisan compromise that provided for an extension of certain UI benefits, a payroll tax cut, and Medicare provisions. As part of the deal, states were permitted to drug test UI applicants who had been discharged from their last job for drug use or whose only suitable work opportunity is in a field that regularly drug tests workers. The rule directed the secretary of labor to determine which occupations regularly drug test. The Department of Labor issued a rule defining such “occupations” as those that are required, or may be required in the future, by state or federal law, to be drug tested.

Fair Economy Impact: This rule would have clarified circumstances under which individuals filing for unemployment benefits may be subjected to drug testing. Mandatory drug testing for UI applicants is arguably unconstitutional and unnecessarily stigmatizes jobless workers. Conditioning receipt of UI benefits on this type of requirement fundamentally challenges our nation’s UI system, creating the perception that workers do not earn unemployment insurance. However, workers earn the right to unemployment insurance benefits through prior participation in the workforce. Workers only access their earned benefit when they lose their job and are working to find a new one. This rule would have benefited workers who have lost their jobs. The repeal of this rule will benefit opponents of unemployment benefits, and employers seeking reduced payroll taxes (payroll taxes help finance unemployment benefits).


  • President Trump signed into law on March 31, 2017
  • Senate passed (51–48) on March 14, 2017
  • House passed (236–189) on February 15, 2017
  • On February 7, the White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy indicating that the president would sign the resolution.