Presidential Hopeful Scott Walker Sues Federal Government Over Food Stamp Reform

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The Wisconsin Governor believes food stamp recipients should be drug tested, and is willing to go to court over it

Wikicommons/ Michael Vandon

Walker joined a crowded Republican presidential nomination race on July 13.

Following the announcement that he will seek the Republican Party Presidential nomination, Gov. Scott Walker is suing the federal government in an effort to bring drug tests for food stamp applicants to Wisconsin.

The lawsuit is over Wisconsin’s state budget, which Walker signed July 12, one day before joining the presidential nomination race. His budget would allow his administration to drug test certain food stamp recipients.

The budget is expected to be blocked by the federal government, and the lawsuit is an attempt to pre-empt the expected block. A federal judge may allow the program to go forward, reports the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.

Federal law normally doesn’t give states much room to impose changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The program is more informally referred to as food stamps, and in Wisconsin it’s called FoodShare.

“This lawsuit seeks to provide clarity that the State of Wisconsin has the authority to require drug testing for FoodShare recipients,” said Wisconsin Attorney General Brad D. Schimel in a press release

The lawsuit’s position is based on federal law, which Schimel interprets as allowing governments to screen welfare recipients for use of controlled substances. Wisconsin is arguing that FoodShare recipients are “welfare recipients” so they are eligible to drug tested, explains the lawsuit summary.

About a quarter of FoodShare recipients could potentially be screened if this portion of the budget is upheld.

 

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