Drain the Swamp

What Are Lawmakers Smoking? Most People Want to Know the Answer to That Question

New national survey asked likely voters about drug testing for officials — the results may be reason for some of them to worry

It’s not uncommon to hear a frustrated observer of government and politics in the nation’s capital ask something like “What have those people been smoking?”

It turns out a big majority of likely voters think that is a great question for lawmakers everywhere.

Rasmussen Reports asked 1,000 likely voters in a national telephone and online survey conducted October 11-14 if they would favor requiring drug tests, and 65 percent of them said yes, Rasmussen said Tuesday.

Only 26 percent of the respondents said they would oppose such a requirement. The survey has a 3 percent margin of error and a 95 percent confidence level.

The question was prompted by a proposal introduced by Pennsylvania state Rep. Angel Cruz of Philadelphia. He did it as a way of protesting what he considers an unfair requirement for welfare recipients in the Keystone State.

“The lawmakers are the lawmakers, and we’re not above the law. If it’s good for one, it’s good for all.”

“The lawmakers are the lawmakers, and we’re not above the law,” Cruz said. “If it’s good for one, it’s good for all.”

Final action has not been taken on the Cruz measure, but it has sparked action by other lawmakers around the country.

Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.) introduced his “Exposing Congressional Drug Abuse Act” in September.

It’s an issue he’s been keenly interested in for a long time because he experienced mandatory random testing as a deputy marshal back home.

“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. Congress shouldn’t get to live by a different set of rules. This effort is about maintaining accountability and ensuring sober service to ‘We, the People,’” Higgins said in a statement.

Higgins’ bill would require all senators and representatives to submit to random tests. The lawmakers would be responsible for the costs of the program, and if one of them tested positive, the individual would be referred to the appropriate congressional ethics committee.

In an unexpected twist, another Rasmussen survey conducted at the same time as the drug testing poll found public confidence in Congress up significantly in the wake of the Senate’s confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

“As voters get ready to head to the polls in the upcoming elections, voters are much more confident in Congress these days on the heels of the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation than they have been in more than a year,” Rasmussen said.

“The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 24 percent of likely U.S. voters rate the way Congress is doing its job as good or excellent, including only 7 percent who give members of Congress an excellent rating. Forty-six percent give Congress poor marks.”

The approval number was just 15 percent in July when Kavanaugh’s nomination by President Donald Trump was announced.

meet the author

Mark Tapscott manages LifeZette's political coverage. He is an elected member of the First Amendment Center's Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame, has testified before Congress on transparency in government, and is a former CPAC Conservative Journalist of the Year. Reach him at [email protected].