Update: Transcript of the relevant portion is added below the Tweet from New Mexico Compass.
In his address, Pearce told legislators that people can’t get off public assistance by getting jobs because they are unable to pass drug tests.
Rep. Pearce: N.M. doesn’t lack jobs, only ppl to fill them. “They can’t pass drug screenings & they won’t get off public assistance.” #NMLeg
— New Mexico Compass (@NMCompass) January 17, 2013
From a video captured by the Governor’s staff:
“We hear the truth that there are no jobs available.
That’s the truth that we hear. I will tell you that I’ve had eight job fairs in the 2nd district of New Mexico in the last two years. The least number of jobs that we had in a day were 400 and we had 3,000 jobs every single job fair.
And I’ll tell you that we probably didn’t fill ten spots in any one of the job fairs. It was free, open to the public, we publicly advertised it as well.
The reason I had the jobs fairs is because I was hearing everyone saying there were no jobs. And then on the other hand, I was seeing employers say, ‘We have no people. We can’t hire anyone. They won’t come to work. They can’t pass the drug screen and they won’t come off of government assistance.’ So we began to have the job fairs to point that out.”
Pearce then said that he talked to an owner of a company that is hiring truck drivers. The owner said they were offered $80,000-$120,000 per year for a job that does not require a college education.
Look for video on this tonight or tomorrow.
“And they can’t get anyone to take the jobs. Because the people would rather stay on government assistance. My friends, we have a breakdown in the family and our value system that you and I are both going to be washed under. These are not Democrat-Republican things. These are things that tell us what is truth and the truth is that we see decay throughout. And we can solve it, but we must get about solving it.”
Pearce has introduced a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives requiring that those getting unemployment aid pass drug tests. The proposal has been called “unconstitutional and un-American” by critics.
Pearce says that there are $80,000 a year jobs, as truck drivers, that are unfilled.
Asked in an interview afterward if people really could move from welfare rolls to the high-paying jobs he mentioned, Pearce said it was possible. Companies, he said, need workers and are willing to train them.
When businesses cannot obtain the employees they need, they regress and so does the debt-ridden government, Pearce said. It is shortchanged in tax revenues that employed people would pay.
Pearce also spoke of cutting a trillion dollars from the federal budget as a way of balancing the budget.
Pearce is a fierce opponent of government spending, even opposing a bill that would have provided disaster relief for areas affected by Hurricane Sandy.