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New Mexico Telegram » Delegation, Featured, Roundhouse » Pearce says jobs unfilled because workers can’t pass drug tests (updated)

Pearce says jobs unfilled because workers can’t pass drug tests (updated)

Congressman Steve Pearce spoke to a joint session of the New Mexico Legislature on Thursday.

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.

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.

New Mexico Capitol Report:

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.

Written by

Matthew Reichbach has blogged about New Mexico politics since 2006. Matthew was a co-founder of New Mexico FBIHOP with his brother and part of the original hirings at the groundbreaking website the New Mexico Independent. Matthew has covered events such as the Democratic National Convention and Netroots Nation. In addition to politics, Matthew is an avid sports fan, especially of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and TV fan.

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7 Responses to "Pearce says jobs unfilled because workers can’t pass drug tests (updated)"

  1. Lisa G. says:

    What exactly is unconstitutional about having to pass a drug test to get state or federal aid? My mom works for the city in Indiana and they do random drug testing on their employees. It is a simple process. If you need help, you should be willing to stay clean. I am on WIC and my kids are on Medicaid. I am more than happy to take a drug test to prove that I am not spending money on drugs and that our family is not planning on being on government aid forever, just long enough to get through school. After that, we will be making contributions back to society and repaying our due. Grateful to get help while we need it!

  2. Nadina says:

    Talk about dishonest reporting? The article clearly shows Pearce telling what OTHER PEOPLE have told him…and then the remark is attributed to him.

    Anyway, as a taxpayer, I would like to have welfare recipients pass a drug test to get some of my tax money.

  3. MONICA OLIVAS says:

    I totally agree! I say anyone receiving assistance should pass a drug screening as well as those who are receiving unemployment. If us tax payers have to take random drug screens then lets make it fair.

  4. Denny McSweeney says:

    Absolutely, each person receiving tax-payer-paid aid should have to favorably pass a drug screen.

    Just think what this would do to reduce government expenses, and increase employment.

  5. davd yard says:

    Not only should folks on state and federal aid be tested, our elected officials should be tested for drug, and alcohol abuse as well. If our legislators are passing laws concerning the public’s welfare, I believe we need to know they do so with clear minds as well. Lets see if this kind of legislation is ever even mentioned, let alone acted upon.

  6. Richard C says:

    Why do conservatives hate the Constitution? The 4th Amendment still exists, folks.

  7. Elene says:

    If “everyone receiving tax-payer-paid aid” should have to be drug-tested, then when all of you who support that are ready for Social Security and Medicare, you’ll need to be tested. Can’t have you deadbeats taking our money.

    If drug tests, especially when there is no suspicion of a person doing anything wrong, don’t qualify as an unreasonable search, I don’t know what does. Yes, so far the 4th amendment does still exist.

    And I bet my relative who is going to school in order to be able to get a better job, having driven trucks for 20 years or so, would be awfully surprised to hear that he could be making $120,000 per year. In what universe would that be? I just looked up the average salaries of truck drivers, and they vary between about $35,000 and $60,000. Respectable, but nothing like the figures Rep. Pearce gives. But then, I haven’t heard a lot of reality-based comments from him over the years.