Rep. Clay Higgins Wants to Drug Test Congress

Lawmakers would be referred to Ethics Committee if they tested positive for drugs

Rep. Clay Higgins, R-La., a former sheriff’s department captain in Louisiana, has proposed legislation to drug test members of Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Clay Higgins has an idea for how to get Congress to clean up its act: random drug screenings.

“I have observed some behavior that would cause one to wonder,” the Louisiana Republican told the USA Today Network in an interview, apparently joking.

But his proposal to test senators and House members for drug use once per term is no joke. On Thursday, the freshman lawmaker introduced a concurrent resolution to do just that.

It’s about keeping lawmakers accountable to their constituents and staying clean like the millions of Americans who take drug tests every year.

“Elected officials in Washington, D.C., should be subject to the same kind of random drug screenings that blue-collar, working-class Americans have to endure,” Higgins said in a news release.

“Congress shouldn’t get to live by a different set of rules,” he said. “This effort is about maintaining accountability and ensuring sober service to ... the people,” he said.

Lawmakers would reimburse taxpayer money spent to screen them for drugs. And any member who tested positive would immediately be reported to the Ethics Committee, per Higgins’ legislation.

Democrats back home in Louisiana dismissed the proposal as a gimmick to cover for legislative inaction.

“When you haven’t delivered at all for your district I guess all you have is gimmicks and bravado,” Louisiana Democratic Party executive director Stephen Handwerk tweeted. “Let’s send [Democratic candidate Mimi Methvin] to Congress to get results and no more gimmicks.”

“This isn’t a stunt,” Higgins said “It’s not about shaming or embarrassing or ending members’ careers. It’s about our body adhering to the same standards almost every other working man and woman is held to on the job. We should be reflective of the people.”

The onetime captain in the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office rose to fame with a series of tough-talking “Crime Stoppers” videos before he ran for Congress.

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