The USDA says more than half a million people dropped off the food stamp rolls in a single month as the white house continues efforts to keep welfare costs down.
Most of the fall off in January came as people went back to work after last year's hurricanes, but the Trump administration still continues to float the idea of drug testing for food stamps as another deterrent.
Similar testing for unemployment benefits already passed the Texas Legislature, but so far hasn't gone into effect.
“We passed the legislation in 2013, drug testing unemployment individuals, but because of federal law and lawsuits it has not been able to be put into law,” says state Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton.
“You cannot get a job in America today if you cannot pass a drug test,” he says. “So the goal of these programs is to move these people from being dependent on a government check to being independent by having their own positive employment and being a successful taxpayer.”
Texas taxpayers are doling out roughly $100 million a year in assistance for needy families.
“It's incredibly important that programs like this are a hand up, not a hand out,” says state Rep. Briscoe Cain, R-Baytown. “So I think accountability metrics are crucial to ensure the money is going to the most needy individuals and those are the ones who receive assistance over others.”
Cain wholeheartedly supports the White House's efforts to move forward testing for benefits.
“Some may think that Republicans are harsh or cold-hearted about this, but really it's out of our love for people that they not become dependent on the government.”